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The Tyranny of Fun

 15 February 2012 at 7pm 

The Tyranny of Fun

CBSO Centre, Birmingham
Berkley Street, Birmingham
United Kingdom

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Conductor/Piano: Ryan Wigglesworth
Piano: Nicolas Hodges
Electronics: Nye Parry


Richard Baker is one of the foremost composer-conductors of his generation. Commissioned through BCMG’s Sound Investment scheme, Baker’s new work for ensemble and electronics addresses the theme of ‘irrational exuberance’; taking in Ravel’s death-driven waltzes, and the sounds of 80s New York disco; with live electronics that Baker has developed together with his colleague, composer/sound artist Nye Parry.

BCMG premiered Causton’s Chamber Symphony in 2009 and this performance will be the Group’s first since Causton revised the piece following its premiere.

Giving context to these works are three pieces from the 1940s and 50s. Scored for unorthodox percussion instruments, John Cage’s Second Construction is one of a series of three works composed between 1939-42, while Cage was touring the west coast of America with a percussion ensemble.

Oiseaux exotiques (Exotic Birds), for piano and an orchestra of winds and percussion, is an enchanting sound fantasy containing imitations of no fewer than 40 different birdsongs or calls. Pianist Nicolas Hodges, the soloist for the Messiaen, is joined by Ryan Wigglesworth to open the concert with Igor Stravinsky’s Sonata for Two Pianos.

There will be a free pre-concert talk from 6-6.30pm with Richard Baker, open to all ticket holders.



Igor Stravinsky : Sonata for 2 pianos
John Cage : Second Construction
Richard Baker : The Tyranny of Fun
Richard Causton : Chamber Symphony
Olivier Messiaen : Oiseaux Exotiques
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