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Story Telling

London's recent Judith Weir weekend


The BBC's Telling the Tale weekend at the Barbican (London), which showcased the music of Judith Weir, opened with a concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Friday 18 January 2008 in the Barbican Hall, though enthusiasts could have caught a film and a talk prior to this event.

Conducted by André de Ridder, the orchestra played three of Weir's orchestral works, tone poems for want of a better word and were joined by soprano Ailish Tynan for Weir's song cycle Natural History. In fact this work gave its title to the whole evening.

Judith Weir. Photo © Chris Christodoulou
Judith Weir. Photo © Chris Christodoulou

Weir's is an enigmatic talent; she writes beautifully constructed, essentially tonal music but there is something deeply complex and ungraspable about her pieces. On the surface they are elegant, melodic and approachable; but on first acquaintance her music has elusive depths which can only be teased out. Though melodic and tonal, Weir's music is never obvious; though the BBC's event was called 'Telling the tale' there was definitely an aura of the story teller who leaves the audience tantalised and wanting more.

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Copyright © 22 January 2008 Robert Hugill, London UK


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