Sound Scotland 2016 programme is announced
Scotland's biggest new music festival presents new music and tributes to Maxwell Davies and Boulez
Sound Scotland, the Aberdeen-based new music festival, has announced its programme for 2016. In a time where part of Britain seems to be trying to pretend that it isn't part of Europe, sound has survived funding cuts and remains thoroughly and stylishly cosmopolitan, with music from a variety of European composers.
Perhaps it's just coincidence, but so far 2016 has seen a lot of arts & entertainment deaths, and modern music is no exception, with both Pierre Boulez and Peter Maxwell Davies taking their final bows early this year. Sound was planning to present a new Maxwell Davies piano sonata in the current festival, but that's now not going to happen, so instead Rolf Hind will play Max's complete piano works along with four new works in his memory, composed by Hind himself, Alasdair Nicolson, Gemma McGregor and Sally Beamish.
Boulez has a whole day to himself. Sat 5 Nov features a lecture, a book launch, a screening of the 1983 Arena documentary Boulez Now, a lecture-recital from Peter O'Hagan on Piano Sonata No 3, and performances of two of Boulez's whirlwind electroacoustic masterpieces, Dialogue de l'Ombre Double and Anthèmes II. You can get a day pass to all Boulez Day events and mainline 20th century music's oldest Young Turk.
Belmont Filmhouse is hosting late night sound sessions featuring Whyte, Bill Thompson, Bitches Brew, Norwegian vocal group Song Circus, Syntonic and Jason Singh. Song Circus also collaborate with Red Note Ensemble and Belgium's Solisti del Vento on performances of Louis Andriessen's De Staat, Mauricio Kagel's Der Tribun and a new, specially commissioned work by John De Simone. De Simone is the festival's first composer in residence, and he's creating work not just for this year's festival but for the next two as well.
In addition, there are performances of short operas by student composers; Leylines, a performance project by Imogene Newland and Suk-Jun Kim; a programme of string quartet performances from the Edinburgh, Bozzini, Sacconi, Tana and Ligeti quartets, and much else.
As always, there are lots of ways to participate in the festival. Besides discussions, workshops and family events, there's the Aberdeen Harp Project, an initiative of the north-east branch of the Clarsach Society, which has responded to the lack of new music written for the Scottish lever harp in a commendably proactive way: they commissioned a bunch of composers to write some. Scores and instructions are downloadable from the sound website. If you feel like contributing to the future of new music, there's the sponsorship programme Soundbytes, where £120 will get you news updates, invitations to rehearsals and the premiere reception, a chance to meet the musicians involved, and even a copy of the score.
Sound is at various venues in and around Aberdeen from Thu 20 Oct--Sun 6 Nov.