Quatuor Bozzini + University of Bristol New Music Ensemble

Bristol New Music 2014



Repertoire of works by students participating in the composition workshop.

In the press


Simon Cummings, 5:4, February 24, 2014

I couldn’t be there for day two, but Sunday began back at the Victoria Rooms for a concert bringing together Quatuor Bozzini & the University of Bristol New Music Ensemble (who seem to want to be called the NME, but for obvious reasons I’m going to call them the UBNME); the latter performed first. There was some predictably dull Nico Muhly to tolerate — during which one spent time revisiting the ancient art of gritting teeth — but the ensemble impressed in Henze’s splendidly dramatic Sonata for 6 players, a work that encapsulates numerous shades of emotion & mood. They also performed a short work by University student Benedict Todd titled Out of the Machine, a piece that too often sounded like incidental music from a TV soundtrack, its gestures overworked as though outlined in thick black marker (& the programme notes of which made no sense, its description blatantly conflicting with what we were hearing). Quatuor Bozzini, in a similar enterprise to that in HCMF, had been engaged in a week long ‘Composers Kitchen’ with four University students, performing extracts from each of the four resultant pieces. A couple were conservative & forgettable; Kostis Tsioulakis ventured into more interesting territory in a movement from his Second String Quartet, but it was Yung-Shen Hsiao’s music that really shone. Clearly the product of a deep & mature compositional mind, his Winter Fantasy was both evocative & wistful, an observational winterscape viewed through the interpretive filter of memory & reflection. The concert ended with the Quartet & Ensemble combined in a performance of Martin Arnold’s The Coo-Coo Bird, an utterly exquisite reimagining of an Appalachian folksong. Feldman-like, with crystalline textures formed from pointillistic glints & motes from bowed & plucked strings, as well as whistles, it was a gorgeous performance.

… it was a gorgeous performance.