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Tuesday 5th June: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss a couple of topical issues in the news.

Manchester music reviews
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Manchester music reviews

Lulu, Welsh National Opera

Lulu by Welsh National Opera

Reviewed by Denis Joe Feruary 2013

“She was created to incite to sin, to lure, seduce, poison—yea, murder, in a manner no man knows.”   (Frank Wedekind)

Lulu is seen by many as one of the greatest operas of the 20th Century (if not the greatest). Left unfinished by the untimely death of Alban Berg, the opera was performed incomplete by the Zurich Opera in 1937. It wasn’t until 1979 that the world premiere of the three act Lulu, completed by the renowned composer and musicologist, Friedrich Cerha, was performed at the at the Opera Garnier, conducted by Pierre Boulezi.

 

For this production WNO have used a third version of Lulu, by the German born musicologist Eberhard Kloke allowing performers a freer hand in shaping scenes and dramatic developments. But Kloke does not deviate very far from Cerha’s approach. This was the UK premier of Kloke’s version.

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Manchester music reviews

Delia Derbyshire

Delia Derbyshire Day 2013

Band on the Wall Manchester and FACT, Liverpool

Reviewed by Denis Joe January 2013

 

An event celebrating the work of Delia Derbyshire held a lot of promise. The day began with a showing of ‘The Delian Mode’, the award winning documentary by the Canadian film maker Kara Blake. Blake’s film is a great exploration of the work of a genius who would go on to influence both pop and serious music.

 

Taking her most famous creation, the realisation of the theme music for the TV series Dr. Who, we can see how much impact this would have on later music, in particular the movement that became known as Krautrock, in the late 1960s - before the availability of commercial synthesisers. The score was composed by Ron Grainer, though realised by Derbyshire who was working as a sound engineer at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Each note was created by various sounds recorded onto analogue tape, which were then manipulated by varying the speed of the recording, and then splicing the tape together for the overall theme.

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Manchester music reviews

Barb Jungr, something special

Barb Jungr

Rodewald Suite, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Reviewed by Denis Joe November 2012


Once in a while you go to a gig and you realise that it is something special. There are few singers who can match Barb Jungr, and even fewer who can take a song and reinterpret it as well as making it their own.

 

It takes a love of the material and an intimate appreciation of a song to give it a new lease of life and one thing you are made aware of is that Barb Jungr does really love the songs that she sings. These songs are not primarily ‘crowd pleasers’; you’ll not find any of the dull diva songs (‘I am Your Lady’ or that awful song from ‘Titanic’) on Barb Jungr’s set list or her albums.

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Manchester music reviews

A feast for the senses

A Feast for the Senses by Richard Whalley

Reviewed by Denis Joe November 2012


I discovered the music of Richard Whalley having attended a concert in Liverpool given by Ensemble 10/10 last year. On the programme was a piece, specially commissioned by Ensemble 10/10, A Very Serious Game, which is the first composition on this albums, is based around three lithographs by the Dutch Artist M.C. Escher: The House of Stairs, Three Worlds and Metamorphosis.

 

The piano opens the first movement with a feeling of walking that tries to maintain an order as the woodwind instruments threaten to undermine the pace. Yet House of Stairs section grabs the listener from the outset and repeated listening only reinforces  the order as each instrument battles for dominance with its own melody. To that extent the piece reminds me of Elliot Carter’s work, particularly the Cello Sonata. And like the approach of Carter, Whalley keeps a tight rein on the music.

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Manchester music reviews

Così fan tutte - Welsh National Opera

Così fan tutte by Welsh National Opera

Reviewed by Denis Joe November 2012


Conductor: Mark Wigglesworth
Director: Benjamin Davis
Designer: Max Jones

 

Over the years I have seen around five different productions of Così fan tutte, and however beautiful the music, I always come away feeling unsettled by what is a morally repugnant libretto; and perhaps the fact that the music is so wonderful seems to make the experience all the more distasteful.

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Manchester music reviews

Christine Tobin: Sailing to Byzantium

Sailing to Byzantium at the RNCM

A collection of 12 poems by W B Yeats, set to music by Christine Tobin for the Manchester Literature Festival

Reviewed by Helen Nugent October 2012


If you ascribe to the view that song lyrics are essentially lines of poetry, it should come as no surprise that someone has set the works of one of Ireland’s most respected poets to music.

 

A lesser artist might have baulked at the prospect of scoring the literary canon of W B Yeats but, judging by yesterday’s performance at the Royal Northern College of Music, Christine Tobin relished the opportunity. Part of the hugely diverse Manchester Literature Festival, Tobin tackled one of poetry’s modern greats and, for the most part, succeeded in capturing Yeats’ passion and intensity.

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Manchester music reviews

Welsh National Opera - Jephtha

Jephtha by Welsh National Opera

Reviewed by Denis Joe October 2012


Cast includes
Jephtha: Robert Murray
Zebul: Alan Ewing
Storge: Diana Montague
Iphis: Fflur Wyn
Hamor: Robin Blaze (ex 7 Nov); Andrew Radley (7 Nov)
Angel: Claire Ormshaw

Katie Mitchell’s operatic staging (this Revival Director: Robin Tebbutt) of Jephtha was first produced in 2003, was first revived in 2006 and WNO have thankfully felt it worthy of restaging.

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Cry Baby at Helium Records

Cry Baby - EP & Album

Reviewed by Yvonne Cawley September 2012

 

I’m not quite sure what is going on at the moment, but there seems to be a definite 60s revival in the air. Now maybe I am a little bit more sensitive to this having, just hosted a 60s themed Murder Mystery Party (which was well ‘groovy’ by the way) with the fantastic music of the time helping to set the mood. What with the current Sainsbury’s advert with the ‘Hey, Hey, we’re the Monkees’ track and, on my recent trip to Primark, being hit with the abundance of black and white mod style clothing plus lots of psychedelic prints and short pink and blue bobbed wigs, I wondered if I was perhaps missing something.

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Manchester music reviews

Red BaraatRed Baraat at The Bridgewater Hall

Reviewed by Emma Short September 2012

 

The Bridgewater Hall played host to Sunny Jain and his 8 piece Brooklyn based collective Red Baraat on their debut UK tour as part of the London 2012 Festival. Supported by the Asian Arts Agency whose vision is to mainstream high quality Asian arts in the UK increasing cultural diversity in the creative industries, they hit the hall with force. A veritable explosion of the North Indian Bhangra rhythm, funk, salsa, go-go hip hop style syncopation and audience call and response, within a strong grounding of jazz, brought their fusion flavour alive to the eagerly awaiting audience.

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Manchester music reviews

Linda Chatterton

Concert: Linda Chatterton and Matt McCright

at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Reviewed by Denis Joe August 2012

 

The prospect of two musicians of the calibre of Chatterton (Flute) and McCright (Piano) presenting a programme of rarely heard pieces, as well as a world premiere of a work by Ailís Ní Ríain, would excite any music lover.

 

Linda Chatterton has been awarded prizes and grants from such institutions as The McKnight Artist Fellowship, The Jerome Foundation and The American Composers Forum. She has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and is a member of the contemporary music group, Ensemble 61. Five of her recordings are available on CD; the latest, the critically acclaimed Diverse Voices – American Music for Flute, includes the first recording of Edie Hill’s This Floating World.

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