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.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 3 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 4 John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time
- 5 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith embodies the young singer perfectly
Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly