RNCM Brand New Orchestra
Sally Beamish Reckless ^
Matthew Brown Scenes from Bagni di Lucca #
Joe Hunt Additive Orchestra ~
Jos Cole Lunar Phasing ~
Haodong Wang Second Fragment of a Dream ^
Sally Beamish A Cage of Doves *
Josephine Korda#, Leon Frantzen^, Phil Trudgeon~, Agata Zając* conductors
Sally Beamish: Reckless
Reckless was commissioned by Southbank Sinfonia in 2013.
Matthew Brown: Scenes from Bagni di Lucca
I wrote Scenes from Bagni di Lucca between 2015-2020, finally completing it in May 2020 and inspired by the landscape and the bells of Chiesa di San Pietro Apostolo during my holiday in the beautiful Tuscan village of Bagni di Lucca in August 2015. Bagni di Lucca is about 15 miles to the North of Lucca, Tuscany.
Key textural and harmonic influences include Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F (1911), Igor Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments (1920), Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 9 (1957), Adam Gorb’s Ascent (1996, rev. 2004) and Kenneth Hesketh’s Diaghilev Dances (2002).
Among any of my other orchestral works, this easily represents my most complex journey from the initial ideas to the finished score.
Note by Matthew Brown.
Joe Hunt: Additive Orchestra
Many of the pitched sounds one hears in music that are perceived as one note are made up of many higher and quieter microtonal pitches (or partials/harmonics) above the fundamental tone that follow a pattern called the harmonic series. Isolating and manipulating these harmonics is one of the foundational ideas of spectral music, so-called because the harmony is derived from the harmonic spectrum.
Additive Orchestra contains 5 notes (G, B, D, E and A), as well as the harmonic series above these notes and the harmony is derived from the blending of these upper partials. The partials are being played by orchestral instruments which – to an unadjusted ear– may sound dreadfully out of tune, however, as more partials are introduced (especially those closer to the fundamental pitch) the frequencies blend into a uniform sonority, and the resultant sound becomes more consonant.
Note by Joe Hunt.
Jos Cole: Lunar Phasing
I’m a 4th year Composition and Saxophone student here at the RNCM and this is the first work for Orchestra that has ever been performed. It fills me with great excitement that it’s being premiered by my friends and colleagues. It was written for my 3rd year undergraduate composition portfolio and since then I have made some adjustments and final tweaks.
In a lot of my musical composition, I like to write with some form of inspiration in mind. Sometimes I’ll use artwork, photography, lifetime experiences etc. as a basis for how to shape and create a new work. However, for Lunar Phasing, I had a different goal in mind. For this piece, I wanted to write music for the sake of writing music. There is no deeper thought at play. I didn’t feel like they’re needed to be. I just wanted to write a piece of music that would resonate with an audience and the musicians performing it. Because of this, the story of the piece is completely interpretive, and I encourage audience members to think about their own narrative as it’s being performed.
Note by Jos Cole.
Haodong Wang: Second Fragment of a Dream
Second Fragment of a Dream concerns the central section of a three-part dream I once had. In this surreal episode myself and an unidentified friend are in the centre of a town on a sunny afternoon, drunkenly laughing. More inebriated people join us as we form a marching procession, at which point I suddenly feel uncomfortable, asking if this is real, and not a dream. Then, a violent apparition disturbs the scene, and I am all alone, pondering the sunlight reflecting in the windows. My piece reflects this dream through texture, dynamics and colours, each part of the narrative having particular characteristic ideas. Initially, a bright gesture is followed by a mysterious orchestral texture which grows in complexity, becoming increasingly energised. Following a brief silence, the next part has some of the similar upward motion heard previously, but with more disparate ideas reflecting the enlarging crowd from the dream. Representing the violent incident, the orchestra masses in an intense claustrophobic swell. Following a return to the ambient opening sound world the piece ends as it started.
Note by Haodong Wang.
Sally Beamish: A Cage of Doves
This work is inspired by the Orcadian George Mackay Brown’s poetic and innovative novel, Magnus, which tells the story of the martyred saint Magnus Erlendsson. St Magnus gave his life to achieve peace in the Orkney Islands when his cousin Haakon would no longer accept joint rule. Both earls were descended from the kings of Norway.
The title comes from a phrase describing the childhood of the two earls: Haakon remembers ‘rock pools in the sun, a cage of doves, small flung fists and tears and reconciliation.’ The music refers to the Northern light and seascapes which pervade Mackay Brown’s writing. Throughout the piece, fragments of the ancient ‘Hymn to St Magnus’ – unusual and distinctive in its use of thirds – are heard. The ideas of conflict and resolution are expressed in a set of small sea scenes. It is said that a ‘bright, heavenly light’ was seen above Magnus’ grave shortly after his death: this is reflected in the return of the Hymn at the end, overlaid with the calling of doves.
The dedication to Max, who has encouraged and inspired me for twenty years, was made after hearing his extraordinary opera The Martyrdom of St Magnus, at St Magnus Cathedral.
Note by Sally Beamish.
RNCM Brand New Orchestra:
James Clark (leader)
Nadia Mirei Wilson
Conor Prescott (picc)
Doris Cao (picc 2/alto)
He Dong (picc 1)
Imogen Morris (cor)
Lauren Ellis (Eb)
Thomas Knollys (bc)
Ruiying Wang (contra)
Samuel Froggatt (bump)