MUSIC Ghetto blasters and city slickers
Towards the Millenium Birmingham
Wednesday 08 March 1995
Set against so uncompromising a vision, the Czech composer Pavel Haas's Study for Strings came over as an oasis of lyricism. Though written in the "paradise ghetto" of Terezin, whence Haas was transported to his death in Auschwitz, the Study is blithely abstract, strangely shaped and rich in good humour. There is more than a hint of Haas's teacher Janacek, alongside references to Dvorak's Requiem, as well as, more interestingly, a clear affinity, in the sprung rhythms and exultant tonality of the conclusion, with Tippett's Double String Concerto - a curious crossing of inspiration between men who surely knew nothing of each other.
Tippett himself was represented by a broad performance of A Child of Our Time. Meditative rather than dramatic, Simon Rattle's handling of the structure allowed the pivotally placed spirituals their full impact. The down side came in the more rapid numbers, where the chorus failed to move with a flexibility adequate to the depiction of terror.
On Sunday, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group also turned its attention to the Forties with Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time and Stravinsky's Mass. In between came the premiere of Judith Weir's Musicians Wrestle Everywhere, a 13-minute concerto for 10 instruments. The title is taken from an Emily Dickinson poem rich in images of the music around us; and Weir's inspiration derives from an Ivesian desire to capture the sounds of a city - or, in her case, SE17.
The musical frame - a catchy, frequently shifting ostinato - also had an American tinge. If the harmony hardly seemed to have stirred from the 1940s of Stravinsky's Mass, blasts of invigorating instrumental sounds and easily apprehended melody combined to produce a popular success. Given the apparent richness of source material from which the work sprang, however, it didn't seem to offer a great deal of variety.
Grace Dent on TVtv
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 2 Mother of newborn Baby No 59 trapped in sewer pipe told Chinese police she 'heard crying' when she raised alarm
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary to be screened
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Photographer Matt Lankes' portraits of the cast of Boyhood influenced the film's storyline
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks