Prism of Time
MALCOLM MILLER looks back to a
Simon Bainbridge performance last summer,
and forward to Wigmore Hall's
Bainbridge Study Day this month
The world premiere of Simon Bainbridge's The Garden of Earthly Delights received an enthusiastic ovation at the end of the Saturday Matinee Proms on 18 August 2012 at London's Cadogan Hall given by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group conducted by Nicholas Collon, designed as a special 'birthday concert' to mark Alexander Goehr's eightieth and both Oliver Knussen's and Simon Bainbridge's sixtieth. Simon Bainbridge's new work is one of his most exciting and accomplished choral-orchestral compositions to date, inspired by the famous Bosch triptych in the Prado Museum, Madrid, depicting four scenes, 'The Creation of the World' (third day) on its outside, and inside, 'The Garden of Eden' (with the fountain of life), a double panel for 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' (pleasures of fall of mankind, wickedness) and 'The Music of Hell'. To the four sections, Bainbridge and his librettist John Ross, the writer and artist, added a fifth: a spoken prologue to introduce Bosch, narrated vividly by the actor Sam West, as painter, alchemist, conjuror -- and gardener. In the four musical movements, Bosch is depicted by a striking duet of mezzo and counter tenor, here the creamy tones of both Andrew Watts and Lucy Schauffer, guiding the listener and illustrating the painting in sound...
Copyright © 4 May 2013