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<<  -- 2 --  Keith Bramich    EXCITED BY MUSIC


'Contemporary music can be very exciting for the audience as well -- they just don't know what they're going to get, but audiences can sometimes be distanced by the unusual techniques that are often used in new music for the flute, for example the blowing and whistle sound, singing while playing, and the various percussive effects. Although these techniques can dramatically increase the palate of possible sounds the composer can draw from, and can be great fun to perform, it is important that the effects aren't used to compensate for an absence of music.

'I like music that communicates something -- it has to work, and it has to have something to say. I love Frank Martin's Ballade, a piece written around the time of the second world war. It's so dark and intense, perhaps a forewarning of the tragedy that was about to engulf Europe. Some people feel that a piece of music should be able to stand on its own, isolated from its historical context, but I feel that an interpretation can often be deeply enriched by knowing a little bit about what was going on around the composer at the time.

'One of the other benefits of performing new music is the possibility of exploring the music with the composer. I very much enjoyed working with Gyorgy Ligeti, and more recently with Sir Harrison Birtwistle. As one of the remaining unrepentant modernists he is often portrayed as the archetypal 'difficult' contemporary composer but I find his music really approachable -- the flute duets, Duets for Storab, have a haunting austere beauty.

Philippe Gaubert - Pièces Romantiques pour flûte et piano (c) 2000 Deux-Elles Ltd

'I'm also keen to explore the byways of earlier twentieth century repertoire. My recent CD [read Basil Ramsey's review] was of music by Philippe Gaubert -- a flautist, composer, and conductor working in Paris in the first half of the 20th century. He conducted the French premières of many important operas. His sensuous music is so full of charm and nostalgic poignancy that I feel it deserves to be heard by a wider musical community than just by flautists.

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Copyright © 14 June 2001 Keith Bramich, London, UK





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