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Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

1 hour, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 19 March 2011

Robert Worby presents a concert from Birmingham, and talks to featured composer Jo Kondo.

Jo Kondo: Standing
Stefan Wolpe: Piece in Two Parts for Six Players
Oliver Knussen: Requiem - Songs for Sue
Jo Kondo: Three Songs Tennyson Sung (world premiere)
Morton Feldman: The Viola in My Life II
Harrison Birtwistle: Silbury Air

Claire Booth (soprano)
Christopher Yates (viola)
BCMG, conductor Oliver Knussen

This concert was recorded last weekend in Brimingham, home of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group- bcmg. It includes two works by leading Japanese composer Jo Kondo, who is celebrated for his delicately minimal soundworld.
Oliver Knussen's conducting and composing career has often taken him to the US and to Japan, fuelling an interest in the composers living and working in those countries. He is a long-standing champion of the music of Jo Kondo, whose new Sound Investment commission, Three Songs Tennyson Sung, for soprano and 7 instruments is unveiled in this concert. Kondo's music has been compared to the pointillist painting technique of Georges Seurat. He pays great attention to the colour and sonority of individual notes and instruments.
Knussen's Requiem - Songs for Sue, is a memorial piece for his wife Sue Knussen, which sets poetry by Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Machado and WH Auden. The American Morton Feldman's quiet, slowly unfolding music has a kinship with Jo Kondo. Harrison Birtwistle's classic piece Silbury Air was inspired by the mysterious earthwork called Silbury Hill.



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