Good to see some proms exposure for Israeli composer Betty Olivero, whose Neharót Neharót is being performed by the Britten Sinfonia at Cadogan hall this Saturday in a delicious sounding program including vocal group I Fagiolini. Olivero studied with Luciano Berio and I think the mixture of folk idioms and avant-garde sounds in Neharót Neharót clearly shows his influence. But she's a unique voice who deserves to be heard more.
I am listening to this concert right now live on BBC radio 3. This piece hasn't come on yet. What I am listening to is a piece by Australian, Brett Dean inspired by Gesualdo (and inspired it really is!) The other day I heard his 'Amphitheatre' [see my review/comment to 'proms' blog. He's a real discovery for me: a real composer with real new ideas on real music....
I am looking forward to Betty Oliveros' work too. It'll have to be good to match Brett's.
Betty Olivero has brought off to magnificent effect what I have been wasting decades of my life messing up. She demonstrates something rare: a genuine non-condescending passion for 'real' music as well as for 'new' music - 'folk' and 'classical' music - and hence the power to transcend such categories.
A far greater achievement than Berio's [not to mention earlier composers' like Vaughan Williams, Bartok etc.] now false- and feeble-sounding attempts to annex or appropriate folk music into new music.
Aware, intelligent and heart-felt composition. Composition without posturing. Composition as the spine-chilling voice of true feeling: that is something practically unknown in our day!
I would like to say that I thought it was the best new piece at the proms so far and that I disagree with Misuc about Bartok but agree somewhat about Vaughan Williams.
I also can't elaborate too much though I would like to because I am still rather ill and can't think straight until I get over a small operation next week........ I only have the consolation that I have a very rare disease and will be treated by the country's experts, so I have read and listened to the blogs! Keep the comments coming.
I loved the dark opening of this piece very, very much, but the subsequent gentle ecstatic, Tavener-like material (I guess there is juxtaposition of dark and light) I found, to my taste, veering over that elusive line towards the saccharine. But this is such a fine judgment and I am very glad to see this music so enjoyed as it certainly has moments of beauty. The formal journey I found unsatisfying, but perhaps I need to listen more carefully. It was the layered sotto voce opening that I really wanted to hear unfold and explored, but it melted away so soon into the greater part of unquestioned and unquestioning resolution.
Well, I wrote while still under the hypnotic influence of the sounds,the complicated mesh of mixed up sensations, suggestions of half-remembered memories, nostalgia, yearning, rage, despair and hope [and all the other things which Taverner blandly and studiously avoids - I do not find the comaprison apt] but ] respect both Jim for much that he has written and also Jim for music on his showcaseand I have not yet had a chance to listen to this piece again unentranced. I will do so again and reconsider.
Re Bartok: I did not intend to disparage him as one of the most inspiring composers of his era, but just to say that his achievement was the way he managed to incorporate many of the techniques, passions and 'barbarities' of Balkan peasant music within the traditions of 20th century 'classical' music. Janacek, for example, bent these traditions a little more. But you can hear Olivero from either side. Anyway, that's what I meant to say. But maybe another hearing will show me I was wrong there too.
To change the subject, did anyone hear Martin Matalon's "Lignes de fuite"? - a very, very different approach to the challenges of contemporary musical language. I found it exhilarating, stupendously imaginative and well-conceived - the best of all the new pieces at this year's proms - This year the rubbish contemporary music was recent but not new, and there were several good pieces, signs of a healthier movement arising to suit the new less hypocritical media-controlled cultural forces emerging from the mess.....
Just to report: I did listen to this extraordinary piece again. From after the first bars it is clear that it is a tasteless ill-thought-out hodge-podge. there is scarcely an attempt to marry the 'avantgarde' with the Easern European and yet, as you go on listening, especially when the voice comes in, and then the haunting Monteverdi fragmwnts in the distance.....I challenge anybody to ...hear this and hold back the tears. really. I'm not exaggerating. I don't know how it works,,,what givs it the right to work,,,but it works....Please, friends, make an effort to stay with it...or maybe it's just me. I don't know