News: January, 2009

Flights into Darkness

The end of March sees the premiere of Flights into Darkness, a contemporary melodrama created collaboratively with actor Tom Frankland and pianist Jakob Fichert. The piece brings together texts from two disturbing fin-de-siécle novellas - Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey and Arthur Schnitzler’s Flight into Darkness.

This will be heard at both The Warehouse in London (24 March) and the Jacqueline du Pré Hall in Oxford (27 March). Please see the diary pages for further details.

Review: The Cutting Edge Tour 2009: The Artrix, Bromsgrove

Claire Booth (soprano) and Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano)

Birmingham Post 04.02.2009

Two commissioned first performances graced this evening. First, a fascinating depiction of post-war liberation struggles in Robert Fokkens’ Afrika (sic). This began with the charm of a mesmerising rocking rhythm leading to angst and passion...

Africa premiered

A song recital by Claire Booth (soprano) and Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano) for the BMIC Cutting Edge Tour on 30 January saw the world premiere of Robert’s song Africa, which sets a text by French-African poet David Diop. Hosted by Bromsgrove Concerts, the recital took place in the excellent acoustic of Bromsgrove’s Artrix arts venue. The Birmingham Post described the piece as

a fascinating depiction of post-war liberation struggles...This began with the charm of a mesmerising rocking rhythm leading to angst and passion.

The Cutting Edge Tour includes two more concerts by this duo - on 3 March at Cardiff University, and on 11 March at Cheltenham Town Hall for the Cheltenham Contemporary Concerts series.

Please see the diary pages for more details of these concerts.

More information about The Cutting Edge Tour can be found at www.bmic.co.uk

Claire Booth and Andrew Matthews-Owen at Bromsgrove Concerts

As part of the bmic Cutting Edge Tour 2008, Claire Booth (soprano) and Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano) perform a recital for Bromsgrove Concerts at Artrix in Worcestershire. Alongside pieces by Britten, Hoddinott, Knussen, Cashian and Sierra, they present the second performance of Africa by Robert Fokkens.

Benjamin Britten On This Island
Alun Hoddinott One Must Always Have Love
Oliver Knussen Whitman Settings
Philip Cashian New work
Arlene Sierra New work
Robert Fokkens Africa

Claire Booth (soprano) and Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano)

Bromsgrove Concerts

Friday 30 January 2009 at 8.00pm

Artrix: School Drive, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B60 1AX

Cutting Edge Tour 2008

Review: Park Lane Group New Year Series, Purcell Room

Clariphonics Clarinet Quartet

The Times 09.01.2009 (Hilary Finch)

...Soprano and pianist shared their recital with the feisty clarinet quartet Clariphonics, who set themselves almost every challenge in the book in a programme that ranged from Sadie Harrison’s Scathach (pibroch meets martial arts), to the work that inspired their name, Dai Fujikura’s Clari4onics. Best of all was the world premiere of Glimpses of a half-forgotten future by the South African composer Robert Fokkens: sad, strange and scarcely five minutes’ worth of unquiet fragments that expressed more than anything else they had played

The Guardian 09.01.2009 (George Hall)

...In Glimpses of a Half-Forgotten Future, by the South African Robert Fokkens, quarter-tone chords interrupted the minimalist doodling of the main idea to disturbing effect. Throughout these, and similarly brief pieces by Sadie Harrison, Dai Fujikura, Anna Meredith and Jim Pywell, Clariphonics delivered spirited musicianship...

Musical Pointers 12.01.2009

...Fokkens’s Glimpses of a half-forgotten future began nicely, but innocuously, with a folky little melody passed between three clarinets. It grabbed my attention when this was abruptly shoved against a thick, static, microtonal chord, and held it rapt as the two elements alternated in quiet procession, the microtonal kinks slowly infecting the folky melody.

Classical Source 10.01.2009

...the textural resource of Robert Fokkens’s Glimpses of a half-forgotten future (2008), the sheer rhythmic verve of Anna Meredith’s Four to the Floor (2005) and the emphasis on purely ’ensemble values’ in Jim Pywell’s Three Beginnings (1996) each made a highly effective showcase.

Clariphonics at the Purcell Room

Remarkable clarinet quartet Clariphonics perform the world premiere of a new commission by Robert Fokkens as part of the 2009 Park Lane Group New Year Series. They share the concert with soprano Kiri Parker and pianist Elizabeth Rossiter.

Park Lane Group New Year Series 2009

Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London

07 January 2009 at 7.45pm

Sadie Harrison Scothach (The Lady of Shadows)
Dai Fujikura Clari4nics
Haris Kittos Esperon for clarinet quartet
Elizabeth Maconchy Sun, Moon and Stars for soprano & piano
John Woolrich New work
Michael Berkeley Nettles
Nicola LeFanu I am bread for soprano & piano
Judith Weir Spanisches Liederbooklet for soprano & piano
Robert Fokkens Glimpes of a half-forgotten future for clarinet quartet
Anna Meredith Four to the floor for clarinet quartet
James Pywell Three Beginnings

Kiri Parkersoprano
Elizabeth Rossiterpiano
Clariphonicsclarinet quartet

For more information and online booking, see:

South Bank Centre

Clariphonics at the Purcell Room

As part of their excellent recital for the Park Lane Group New Year Series 2009, clarinet quartet Clariphonics performed the world premiere of the piece commissioned from Robert, Glimpses of a Half-Forgotten Future. Both the recital and the piece received favourable reviews, with The Times having this to say:

Best of all was the world premiere of Glimpses of a half-forgotten future by the South African composer Robert Fokkens: sad, strange and scarcely five minutes’ worth of unquiet fragments that expressed more than anything else they had played.