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Presteigne's composer in residence was Robin Holloway (born 1943, Leamington Spa), celebrating his sixtieth birthday with a season of special events, including Philharmonia Music of Today (9 October 2003), Manchester Resonances (16-18 October) and the Cambridge Festival (14-20 November). A former chorister at St Paul's Cathedral and a teenage student of Alexander Goehr, he has been a lecturer in music at Cambridge University since 1975. Presteigne audiences had several opportunities to experience Holloway the lecturer in action, both on his own -- especially in a talk about nostalgia and music looking back at the past -- and in conversation with other musicians.

Robin Holloway (left), Alice Neary and Lloyd Moore at St Mary's Kinnerton after Alice's solo cello recital on 23 August 2003. Photo: Keith Bramich
Robin Holloway (left), Alice Neary and Lloyd Moore at St Mary's Kinnerton after Alice's solo cello recital on 23 August 2003. Photo: Keith Bramich

There were also, of course, many interesting performances of Holloway's music -- the Suite for Alto Saxophone (Sarah Field) exploring Holloway's fascination with monody, a powerful Sonata for Solo Cello Op 91 (Alice Neary), providing an exercise in concentration for composer, performer and audience, the lyrical and late Romantic-sounding Ode, Op 45 (George Vass and the Festival Orchestra), a light, delicate and uplifting Serenade in G Op 64b (Raphael Ensemble), the short anthem Since I Believe, setting a poem by Robert Bridges (Peter Broadbent and the Joyful Company of Singers) and the astringent beauty of Romanza for violin (Katharine Gowers) and orchestra Op 31, all enabling concert-goers to build up a picture of a composer whose contemporary music is surprisingly accessible and steeped in the music of the past.

Sharing in the glory at the end of 'Romanza', Katharine Gowers, Robin Holloway and George Vass, with the Festival Orchestra. Photo: Keith Bramich
Sharing in the glory at the end of 'Romanza', Katharine Gowers, Robin Holloway and George Vass, with the Festival Orchestra. Photo: Keith Bramich

 

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Copyright © 5 October 2003 Keith Bramich, London UK

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