The House of Bedlam with Juliet Fraser (soprano)
Sam Longbottom and Tanguy Pocquet threaded | spinning | abrading | possibly breaking
Simon Knighton Sound Sculpture No.6 (featuring imagery by Fiona Brehony)
The swing of a pendulum, the flow of water, the motion of air particles around you: these are all examples of real-world processes that can be explained and modelled using dynamical systems – the sometimes simple, sometimes chaotic mathematical processes that surround us in everyday life. This piece presents three different approaches to interpreting dynamical systems musically: from physical installation to poetic analogy, to semi-autonomous algorithmic composition. – Simon Knighton
Ellen Sargen Lost in your whole world
‘Lost in your whole world’ is an arrangement that I have drawn from a collection of my open scores, written for House of Bedlam and workshopped during the summer. Myriad pieces could have been written or arranged from the resulting material that we recorded (which was both exciting and daunting!).
The open scores were focused around an ‘internal dialogue’. This asked each player to consider discomfort in performance; through playing; through listening and watching. In this arrangement, I have transcribed some of these internal dialogues, asking the trio to ‘re-enact’ the memories of the dialogues that took place during that workshop. I have also taken inspiration from a couple of our ‘tutti dialogues’ (where the decision making was less internalised) and ‘coded’ certain behaviours in each performer that caught my attention. The resulting score is somewhere between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ – I have given space for the trio to re-enact ‘internal dialogues’, but also provided transcriptions to help jog their memories.
In many ways, this is a path through the memories of our workshop over the summer. Over this path, I have written a speaking part. This part is a commentary on consent in composer-performer relationships, which flips halfway through to critique the act of coding behaviours to a performer’s body. This section is a personal protest against certain codes for my own body and contains stories of uncomfortable experiences I (or friends) have had as performers or audience members. – Ellen Sargen
Sarah Hennies Growing block
Larry Goves (music) and Matthew Welton (text) Crow rotations
Crow rotations has come about through a pretty organic process of around 18 months of conversation. We’re both massively interested in questions of form, structure and repetition, and this time the discussion moved between musical and poetic form including canons and rounds to scientific and philosophical ideas around the forms things take, how we differentiate between things, and how we might think of many of the processes of life as forms of rotation. – Matthew Welton
I am always affected, when reading Matthew’s work, by the tension between sumptuous sounds, images, and combinations of words, and their formal severity and organisation. We devised a formal approach in which the music gradually gathers variety as the text becomes more and more sparse. Starting with a collection of sixty especially made different electronic drones, inspired by patters in the diagrams of chemical compounds, I’ve sought out ‘organic’ consonances organised in strict repetitions and rotations. – Larry Goves
The House of Bedlam:
Juliet Fraser soprano
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Poems and Biographies
The House of Bedlam
Larry Goves is a British composer and artist based in Manchester and Rossendale (UK). His work has been presented, performed, about broadcast around the world by numerous groups and musicians including the London Sinfonietta, the Nash Ensemble, The London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, The Britten Sinfonia, Psappha, The Solem String Quartet, The Argonaut Ensemble (Australia), The Hallé, BIT20 (Norway), 175 East (New Zealand), L’Instant Donné (France), Divertimento Ensemble (Italy), Oliver Coates, Kathryn Williams, Tom McKinney, Carl Raven, and many others all over the UK and abroad.
His music has been released on NMC, Dutton, Prima Facie, Slip, Nonclassical, Prah, LSO Live, and on the London Sinfonietta’s Label. As an installation artist he has presented work at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Tatton Park Biennial, The Science Museum (London), and the Wellcome Institute.
An experienced curator, he was the co-curator of Manchester’s New Music North West, curated experimental concert series Decontamination at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), and is the director of ensemble The House of Bedlam.
He is a Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers recipient, has been shortlisted for an RPS Award, and is a former recipient of a Jerwood-Aldeburgh Opera Writing Fellowship with regular collaborator writer Matthew Welton.
He was the composition tutor for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for ten years and is the former composer in residence for Royal Holloway, University of London. He currently devises and delivers the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme course Composition, Alternative Performance, and Performance Art and is the Deputy Head of Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Carl is a freelance saxophonist, improvisor and educator. He performs regularly with Halle, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, RLPO, RPO, Manchester Camerata, Opera North, Northern Sinfonia. He is also a member of House of Bedlam, a UK based contemporary music ensemble and is a member of the Apollo Saxophone Quartet. He has solo recordings on Naxos and Odradek and appears regularly on BBC radio. Carl is a saxophone tutor at the RNCM, Manchester University and Chetham’s School of Music.
He has performed with many top UK and US jazz performers: inc. Gwilym Simcock, Jason Rebello, Julian Arguelles, Brian Blade, Danilo Perez and John Pattitucci.
During lockdown, Carl created a ground-breaking new education project, taken up by eight UK Music Centres. A series of on-line instruction videos triggers musical material from local students of all ages, this was then transformed into a unique musical and visual creation. The ‘Biggest Big Band’ project stretched students’ listening, performing and creative skills and kept young musicians challenged during lockdown.
Carl’s current project involves electronics, electronic sensors on the saxophone and MaxMSP programming. The project premiered at Dartington Summer Festival this year (2021).
Kathryn Williams is a versatile flute soloist, orchestral player, and researcher. Her solo work has been focused recently around creatively overcoming her experiences of chronic respiratory conditions through Coming Up for Air, a project that has commissioned over 100 pieces limited to a single breath. Described as “ingeniously inventive” (TEMPO), Coming Up for Air has been performed around the world, featured in Breathe Magazine, Pan Journal, TEMPO, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 The Listening Service and PBS Melbourne. An album of 40 “strangely fascinating” (BBC Music Magazine) single-breath pieces was released in 2019 on Huddersfield Contemporary Records and distributed by NMC.
Kathryn appears on several recently-released recordings on Another Timbre (Tim Parkinson ‘an album’, Alison Cameron ‘Somatic Refrain’, and John Cage ‘Hymkus’) and a multi-track binaural recording of Aldo Clementi’s Ouverture for 12 flutes on All That Dust (“Remarkable crystalline clarity, accentuated by Williams’ focused and pure flute tone” in TEMPO). She has also recorded for Huddersfield Contemporary Records, NMC, Naxos, and RVNG International. She is a member of contemporary music ensemble House of Bedlam and has performed with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, The Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Kathryn is an experienced educationalist, having worked with composers and performers within Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, Dartington Summer School, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, Chetham’s School of Music, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and Junior Royal Northern College of Music. She has given guest lectures at Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Universities of Cambridge, Huddersfield, Leeds, and York. As part of six years on the Live Music Now! scheme, she served as a Musician in Residence at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, bringing therapeutic musical experiences to young patients and their families.
Kathryn balances her performance career with research by working part-time for the Incorporated Society of Musicians as a Research and Policy Officer focusing on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. She earned a BMus, MMus, and International Artist Diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music and a PhD from the University of Huddersfield.
Steph is a founding member of the award-winning Solem Quartet, with whom she has built a reputation for presenting powerful concerts that combine contemporary and historical works. The quartet enjoys a busy schedule around the UK and abroad, and their debut album The Four Quarters was released in 2021 to critical acclaim. Steph also freelances with various ensembles such as LCO, Manchester Collective and BBC Concert Orchestra, and was formerly principal cello of Sinfonia Cymru. She really enjoys teaching and has a small number of private pupils alongside her role at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. Steph studied in Bremen, Germany, and in Manchester.
Soprano Juliet Fraser has a repertoire dominated by the very old and the very new. Specialising in the gnarly edges of contemporary classical music, Juliet is an active commissioner of new repertoire and has worked particularly closely with composers Pascale Criton, Michael Finnissy, Bernhard Lang, Cassandra Miller and Rebecca Saunders. Recent festival highlights include Aldeburgh Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, ManiFeste (Paris), Milano Musica, Musikfest Berlin, November Music and TIME:SPANS (NYC).
She regularly performs as a guest soloist with ensembles such as MusikFabrik, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Modern, Plus-Minus and Talea, with Quatuor Bozzini, and as a duo with pianist Mark Knoop. Much of her commissioning focuses on creating a body of new work for voice and tape/electronics or for voice and piano. She has recently commissioned pieces from Lara Agar, Laurence Crane, Nwando Ebizie and Newton Armstrong. Juliet is also known for breathing new life into existing repertoire such as Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet, Babbitt’s Philomel, Vivier’s Bouchara, Feldman’s Three Voices and Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil.
In 2015 she released her debut disc, Feldman’s Three Voices (on Hat Hut); she has since released recordings of Andrew Hamilton’s To the People (NMC), Bernhard Lang’s The Cold Trip, part 2 (Kairos), Michael Finnissy’s Andersen-Liederkreis (Hat Hut), a binaural capturing of Babbitt’s Philomel (all that dust) and portrait discs of Cassandra Miller (all that dust) and Frank Denyer (Another Timbre). In 2020 she released her album ‘spilled out from tangles…’ (HCR), which features works written for her by Lisa Illean, Sivan Eldar, Nomi Epstein and Lawrence Dunn. Her latest album (NEOS) presents music by Chaya Czernowin, Beat Furrer, Enno Poppe and Rebecca Saunders.
Juliet is a core member of EXAUDI vocal ensemble, which she co-founded with composer/conductor James Weeks in 2002. With EXAUDI she performs a broad repertoire, from ars subtilior and Renaissance madrigals to the most complex contemporary scores. Her discography includes acclaimed recordings of Renaissance polyphony by Lassus, Vitoria and Byrd with Collegium Vocale Gent (directed by Philippe Herreweghe), Bach cantatas with Gli Angeli Genève and, most recently, the late madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo with EXAUDI.
Alongside her work on stage, Juliet enjoys writing words about being a performing artist. Recent essays have been commissioned by Cheltenham Festival, Britten Pears Arts, MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues and the Fragility of Sounds lecture series, and published in TEMPO and by Wolke. She has delivered masterclasses or short courses on contemporary vocal repertoire or collaborative composition at Royaumont Foundation, Britten Pears Young Artist Programme, Dartington Music Summer School, Southampton University and Leeds College of Music. She is also in increasing demand as a panellist or presenter and has served on juries for The Arts Foundation, NCH/Sounding the Feminists, the Ivors Composer Awards and Royal Philharmonic Society.
Juliet is the founder and artistic director of eavesdropping, a festival for experimental musics in East London, and co-director with Mark Knoop and Newton Armstrong of All That Dust, a little independent label for new music.
Matthew Welton - Crow Rotations
From a low, broken branch,
on the unmown slopes,
around an oval pool;
In the soil
beneath the earth,
from a tuft of dry grass,
when the rain erodes the stones;
At the edge of the village
from the edge of the beck
above a sloping meadow
and at the hilltop;
With the motion of the crows
and deep in negotiation;
In paper wrappers
and from a doughy loaf;
and blown away;
In the morning mist,
in the evening sunlight
and out into the air;
From the valley
and at the hilltop
and towards its own shadow.
The grass grows tufty
the stone wall slopes
things become other things.
The seed of something specific grows into something we will not name.
the worms swim slow
the shallow beck trickles by
Imagine a line where everything connects.
The tufts of grass ruffle. Nobody comes.
The stones will recompose,
the new trees grow,
the sunlight becomes specific
We trudge and trudge and our hunger takes shape.
We fill the hollows molecules of thoughts with sandwiches and apples.
The oaks creak , the breezes fizzle,
blue flowers flutter.
A slow train echoes,
the light lingers hard.
The crows that were gathered gather again,
here comes the call of the crows.
A troubling thought mumbles,
the crows gather close.
Nothing resembles the motion of the crows
more than the call of the crows.
The waves of wind send the crows to the meadow,
and won’t our worries echo.
The sharp light shifts,
the crows swoop low.
The wind accommodates the weight of the crows
A crow swoops low.
the crows call, the crows grow tufty, the crows slope
the crows become other things
the crows gather around
the crows grow into something
the crows swim
the crows call
the crows trickle by
the crows imagine everything connects
the crows gather close
the crows ruffle
the crows erode, the crows recompose
the crows grow new
the crows call
the crows become specific
the crows trudge to the top, the crows takes shape.
the crows negotiate
the crows in paper wrappers; the crows in a doughy loaf.
the crows creak; the crows fizzle
the crows swoop
the crows won’t blow our worries away.
the crows echo
the crows blow away, the crows lift into the air;
the crows become sharp, the crows swoop low
the crows flutter
the crows accommodate the wind
the crows echo
the crows shadow
the crows linger
the crows swoop
From a low, broken branch comes the call of a crow
The grass grows tufty
The stone wall slopes
Things become other things, we sometimes think:
The crows that were gathered on the unmown slopes gather again around an oval pool
In the soil the seed of something specific grows into something we will not name.
Beneath the earth the worms swim slow
From a tuft of dry grass comes the call of a crow
The shallow beck trickles by
Imagine a line where everything connects: there the crows gather close.
The tufts of grass ruffle. Nobody comes.
When the rain erodes the stones, the stones will recompose as crows.
At the edge of the village the new trees grow
From the edge of the beck comes the call of the crow
The sunlight becomes specific to the motion of the crows above a sloping meadow.
We trudge to the hilltop and our hunger takes shape.
We fill the hollows molecules of our thoughts with the notion that the crows are deep in negotiation.
Apples in paper wrappers; sandwiches cut from a doughy loaf.
The creak of the oaks; a fizzle of breeze.
Nothing resembles the swoop of a crow more than a troubling thought mumbled out loud.
The waves of wind send the crows to the meadow, but won’t blow our worries away.
The crows’ call echoes.
As the morning mist blows away, the crows lift into the air;
As the evening sunlight becomes sharp, the crows swoop low
blue flowers flutter
the crow shifts its weight to accommodate the blunt blustery winds
From the valley comes the echo of a train
A crow swoops towards its own shadow
At the hilltop, the light lingers hard.
A crow swoops low.
in the low, broken stones
something specific grows
crows gather close
the rain will recompose
in the meadow the motion
of the sloping oaks
a shadow is an echo
a crow swoops low.
the crows become the stones
the worms become the rain
the oak becomes a meadow
the flowers become the sunlight
the morning becomes a crow
a crow swoops