Aldeburgh’s answer to Mozart balls revealed
Friday’s post about words as sound shapes segued seamlessly into Exaudi’s Sunday afternoon Aldeburgh open session which featured two newly commissioned vocal works challenging that conceit of the information age that what cannot be articulated in words is beyond comprehension. First up was Matthew Shlomowitz’s a cappella Instrumental Music which investigates the relationship between the human voice and musical instruments – check out the composer’s website for samples of his compositions. Following Instrumental Music was Aaron Cassidy’s wordless tribute to Francis Bacon A painter of figures in rooms; this “takes the human voice apart and puts it (mostly) back together again” and could just be the Stimmung for the information age.
Much credit goes to Exaudi and their director James Weeks for smashing the fossil and starting all over again, and to Aldeburgh Music for supporting their residency which was the prelude to a Wigmore Hall concert. But, as seen in my header photo, there was evidence in the Snape Maltings shop that Aldeburgh is struggling to find the balance between being in the commercial-intermediary complex, but not of it. Britten famously declared that “…the loudspeaker is the principal enemy of music… it is not part of true musical experience… music demands more from a listener than simply the possession of a tape-machine or a transistor radio”. What would he think of his image being touted to anyone possessing that twenty-first century equivalent of the transistor radio, the iPhone? And what would he think of Peter Grimes performed on his beloved Aldeburgh beach with loudspeakers reportedly substituting for a live orchestra? Was Britten right, and is the loudspeaker and its mobile media offspring part of the problem and not part of the solution? Is the centenary iPhone cover Aldeburgh’s answer to that best selling Salzburg delicacy Mozartkugel - Mozart balls? Are the keepers of Britten’s flame making a mistake by responding to Pears pressure?
Header photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2012. My ticket for the Exaudi open session was purchased at the Aldeburgh box office. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk Also on Facebook and Twitter.