Discover more from Songs of Sunrise
📖 Sunday Culture Crunch 📖
For all your weekend culture needs
Good morning all, hello to new subscribers, and welcome to the Sunday Culture Crunch — my fortnightly weekend roundup of thought-provoking listening/reading, new music, upcoming events, and recommendations for general culture stuff to look out for over the next few weeks. Happy browsing, and do comment if there’s anything you’d like to see featured in the Crunch. Want more/less fiction? Non-fiction? Old recordings? Let me know!
Big announcement this week — I’M COMING TO THE BARBICAN WITH A QUARTET CONCERT! I’ll be joining violinist Fenella Humphreys and pianist Nicola Eimer on Sunday 5th November to introduce pieces by Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Dorothy Howell and Doreen Carwithen. As you can probably tell, I am extremely excited about this. Please come join us if you can! Tickets are available here.
I’ll also be at Conway Hall on 22nd October to introduce Madeleine Dring’s centenary concert with pianist Antonio Oyarzabal and oboist Nicholas Daniel. Dring was such a character — composer, singer, actress and pianist — so I’m looking forward to exploring the many strands of her personality and career. Tickets are available here.
If you are in Oxford later today (1st October), I’m interviewing composer Michael Stimpson about his life and work at Blackwell’s Bookshop, 3pm. It’s free to attend (!), and registration is online here.
Huge thanks to everybody who came to the Budleigh Salterton, Wigtown and Hidden Notes festivals! It was a real joy to meet readers and discuss your thoughts about Quartet ❤️ If you come to either of the above concerts please do come and say hi afterwards!
What I’m Reading
Priscilla Morris, Black Butterflies. Opening in 1992, this is the story of an artist, Zora, and her struggles to survive the Siege of Sarajevo. This is a phenomenally powerful book that taught me a lot about this period of history. It’s about art, about family, and about the ways that war destroys communities.
Eliza Clark, Penance. Penance is a fictional true crime book, centered around the murder of a teenage girl in a British seaside town. There’s some really insightful social commentary in here and it’s a smart take on true crime as a genre, even if it sometimes doesn’t quite manage to distance itself from the clichés it’s critiquing.
Dobrinka Tabakova: Orpheus’ Comet, Earth Suite & Concertos. Tabakova is one of my favourite composers, so this was always going to be one of my highlight discs of the year. The Viola Concerto soloist is Maxim Rysanov, for whom the concerto was written.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Choral Works. Another of my favourites, this is a really beautiful disc of choral music by Coleridge-Taylor, including seven premiere recordings.
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra & Viola Concerto. Alexandre Bloch leads the Orchestre National de Lille, and this is a really cracking rendition of the Concerto from Amihai Grosz.
Morricone: Cinema Rarities for Violin and String Orchestra. Confirming my belief that you basically can’t go wrong with Ennio Morricone.
Penderecki: Trumpet Concertino, Double Concerto for Violin & Cello, and Symphony No. 6. Glum up your weekend with this disc from the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra.
An oldie and a goodie…
This isn’t even that old, but this week my pick is Abel Selaocoe’s debut album from 2022. This is one of those albums I’ve returned to again and again, and every single time I find something new. Selaocoe is also phenomenal live, and he’s performing at the Barbican in November.
General booking for much of the Royal Opera House’s 2023-24 season opens on 4th October. Pop it in the diary to book tickets for Hansel and Gretel, Elektra, Manon, Wolf Witch Giant Fairy, Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Tortoise and the Hare, La Bohème, Tosca, and the Festival of New Choreography.
Also on the 4th, a screening of Chevalier and Q&A with violinist Ronald Long at Fidelio Cafe, London. Chineke! Orchestra are also at Fidelio on October 11th with Price and Schubert.
Cellist Laura van der Heijden is a Kings Place artist in focus and always worth seeing live — she’s playing at Kings Place on 4th October.
Saxophonist Jess Gillam and the BBC Philharmonic are giving the UK premiere of Anna Clyne’s Glasslands on 5th October at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall. Tickets include access to Gillam’s pre-concert talk.
Roomful of Teeth are at the Barbican on 7th October with a world premiere from Alev Lenz and a European premiere by Leilehua Lanzilotti.
Like wine? Like music? Then London Mozart Players are running a tasting evening at St John’s Smith Square on 11th October.
Baroque and jazz come together for Freshly Ground Bass at the Ironworks Studios in Brighton on 12th October.
Also on the 12th, the Ligeti Quartet explore the works of Anna Meredith at Stoller Hall in Manchester. If you book via Alternative Classical you get 50% off tickets.
Charles Dickens being haunted by the women in his life? Sure, why not. What the Dickens by Clare Norburn is at Stratford Upon Avon on the 13th October, Hornsey Church Hall London on the 14th, Ullet Road Church Hall Liverpool on the 15th.
Oxford International Song festival starts on the 13th October, with a theme of music and visual arts. Highlights include Hildegard von Bingen brought to life by Voice on the 19th, and Tangram’s ‘Three Pebbles’ on the 27th.
If you find yourself at a loose end in London of an evening, try one of the regular candlelight concerts at St Martin in the Fields. Great for winter nights.
And for something completely different…
If you like film music, then try the podcast Soundtracking. Edith Bowman interviews film industry folks about the music that makes movies — I particularly enjoyed the episode with Hildur Guðnadóttir about her score for A Haunting in Venice.