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.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Chronixx interview: Reggae sensation on taking the opening spot at Glastonbury and calling Barack Obama a 'waste man'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender hints showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Amy: Mark Ronson praises 'respectful' Amy Winehouse film as it scores the highest ever UK opening for a British documentary
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts