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Performances from the New Music Players under director Ed Hughes are all any composer could desire
In a rare joint airing of Hanns Eisler's Fourteen Ways of Describing Rain and Joris Ivens's film documentary on rain (Regen, 1929), Eisler's clouded musical reflections on these watery images were atmospheric and ultimately moving. Edward Dudley Hughes's no less artful new take, Light Cuts Through Dark Skies, accompanied the same black-and-white projections on our second outing to Amsterdam.
The New Music Players' stylish late-night Guildhall concert incorporated two showings of Joris Ivens' poetic little 1929 film Rain, first with Hanns Eisler's music, then with a new and fetching score by Edward Dudley Hughes.
Fourteen Ways of Describing Rain...was the score written by Hanns Eisler in 1940 for a 1929 film Rain which was shown simultaneously. It was spare, elegant music and Eisler seems overdue for revival. It was followed later by Edward Dudley Hughes's Light Cuts Through Dark Skies, his recently commissioned music for the same film, an interesting personal commentary on sequences in the film. Bergs Four Pieces for clarinet and piano were superbly played by Fiona Cross, each tiny section perfectly poised. The five musicians of the excellent New Music Players finally joined together for Schoenberg's early 1st Chamber Symphony, a passionate work, its Wagnerian heritage clearly felt.
The Brighton Festival's long-established new-music...weekend continues to have real purpose and value...The New Music Players's concert in the morning, most of it conducted by Patrick Bailey, included the day's two meaty festival commissions...Edward Dudley Hughes, the New Music Players' director, had a new work in last year's Brighton weekend, which appeared to mark a significant advance in his development. The Sibyl of Cumae impressed me, if anything, even more. This setting, for mezzo-soprano (Louise Mott) and mixed ensemble, of eight short monologues for the visionary priestess of Apollo, is big and bold, responding to the scholar and poet Tom Lowenstein's gritty and economical text with music unafraid of a direct emotional response...Rolf Hind should, similarly, be gaining attention as a composer...Inspired by Vedic ritual, his The Horse Sacrifice pits a solo cellist (here Michael Atkinson) against the onslaughts of a sometimes perambulating group of performers...
[from a review of a CD single - two works by Edward Dudley Hughes NMP001]:
In (one of) the excellently performed two concerts...in the afternoon, the New Music Players, conducted by Roger Montgomery, prefaced a razor-sharp account of Elliott Carter's Triple Duo with three recent works...Hughes's Sextet, though often quite complex, is admirably clean-textured and benefits from its boldness of utterance, deploying sometimes familiar materials to dramatically telling ends.
the New Music Players handled the virtuoso scoring (of Jonathan Harvey's Song Offerings) with ease. Amanda Pitt was the soloist here and in a performance of Colin Matthews' Night's Mask that captured the warmth and mystery of the Fernando Pessoa sonnet on which it is based.
|New Music Players, 3 Morley Close, Lewes, BN7 1NQ tel/fax:01273 470068|