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BCMG conducted by Oliver Knussen

 13 March 2011 at 7.30pm 

BCMG conducted by Oliver Knussen

CBSO Centre, Birmingham
Berkley Street, Birmingham
United Kingdom


Conductor: Oliver Knussen
Soprano: Claire Booth

Our March 2011 concert emphasises the unique perspective Oliver Knussen brings to BCMG. Knussen’s conducting and composing career has often taken him to the US and also to Japan, fuelling an interest in the composers living and working in those countries. He is a long-standing champion of the music of Jo Kondo, whose new Sound Investment commission for soprano and small ensemble is unveiled in this concert. Kondo’s music has been compared to the pointillism technique of painting developed by Georges Seurat. He pays great attention to the colour and sonority of individual notes and instruments, with a particular interest in ‘hocket’ – passing the notes of a melody between different instruments.

In 2006 BCMG and Claire Booth gave the UK premiere of Knussen’s Requiem – Songs for Sue, a memorial piece for his wife Sue Knussen, which sets poetry by Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Machado and WH Auden. The following year we took it to the Aldeburgh Festival and the BBC Proms.

Complementing these recent works are a group of pieces from mid-sixties to late-seventies. The American Morton Feldman’s The Viola in My Life II is one of a series of four compositions written in 1970/71. Feldman’s quiet, slowly unfolding music has a kinship with Jo Kondo, whose second piece in this cosmopolitan programme, Standing, is a work for three instruments from different families. Harrison Birtwistle’s classic ensemble piece Silbury Air and one of Stefan Wolpe’s final pieces, Chamber Piece No. 2 – composed between 1966-68, complete the programme.

There will be a pre-concert talk at 6.30pm with Jo Kondo, open to all ticket holders, lasting approx. 30 minutes.

Jo Kondo : Standing
Morton Feldman : The Viola in My Life II
Oliver Knussen : Requiem – Songs for Sue
Jo Kondo : new work
Stefan Wolpe : Chamber Piece No. 2
Harrison Birtwistle : Silbury Air

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