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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Luke's Elegy and Ascent

Well I'm not the best placed to review Saturday evening's performance of Luke's new work, Elegy and Ascent, what with being a musical ignoramus and a very biased brother. I enjoyed it immensely, though, and his excellent talk beforehand (and our chats), and his reflections on how he reached this point in his artistic development, added a lot to the listening experience. It was fascinating to hear how he had, in the first half of the composition, taken part of a piano piece and redrawn it for orchestra. The original piece was composed using the chance (the drawing of cards) and Luke used a set of rules and his aesthetic sense to thread his way through this in a way that, as he pointed out, could only be his - another composer would have found another route through the chaos and made a different sort of beauty of it. To orchestrate this then, I suppose, added an extra layer of "human intervention" to the original randomness, as of course do the processes of conducting and performing the music. The second half of the Elegy and Ascent was very different but complementary: ordered but complex, and built around many interlocking, subtle and erudite ideas, as is usually the way with Luke's music. I won't say more for fear of sounding like I'm flattering my little brother, and we really can't have that. It would be even worse and kind of irrelevant to say we're proud of him, but...

I do hope that out there on't interweb somewhere somebody competent has done a proper job of reviewing the performance. One thing I have found, though, Karl Henning's blog where he previewed the concert and included Luke's notes. Also, if' you like to read scores, you can find lots of Luke's work on Scribd here (although not as yet Elegy and Ascent, I think). Hopefully in due course there will be a recording to listen to, too.

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