Wired in Amsterdam

Date: Thursday 28th May; 7.30pm
Venue: Orgelpark, Amsterdam
Last year, as part of our Les Citations project, we commissioned UK composer Chris Roe to write a new work for Oboe, Harpsichord, Percussion and Double Bass.  Chris’ piece WIRED was recorded for our first CD, and has now been selected as a finalist for the Prix annelie de Man.  We are thrilled to be heading to Amsterdam – our first international appearance – to perform Chris’ piece in the finals.

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Death of Light, Light of Death

Date: Saturday 31st October; 5.00pm
Venue: St. Nicholas Church, Brighton
Jonathan Harvey’s “Death of Light, Light of Death” was inspired by Grünewald’s ‘Crucifixion’ in the Issenheim Altarpiece.  Harvey wrote that the “unflinching sense of catastrophe that hangs over this picture has given it a special appeal to the sensibilities of our own time.”  The Riot Ensemble returns to Brighton for the third consecutive year, to perform a concert centred around this beautiful and haunting music.  Other music will include composers from the New Music Brighton composers collective, Helen Grime’s Oboe Quartet, and NMB Composers Patrick Harrex, J.C. Clark, Peter Copley & Phil Baker.

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A Clockwork Operetta

Date: Wednesday 1st July, 7.30pm
Venue: The Forge, Camden
The closing ‘summer party’ on the second season of the critically acclaimed Wednesdays at the Forge concert series.  The concert is built around Kevin Malone’s cabaret based around A Clockwork Orange, which sets the “songs” that Burgess included in his own script for the film (which Kubrick was eventually to reject in favour of his own).  The concert also includes music by Charles Dodge and George Crumb.

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Thoughts from Behind the Piano

Posted by Riot Ensemble pianist, Adam Swayne
I have a confession to make: I’ve never been very keen on works for flute and piano. I usually think of the combination as like a lemon curd sandwich where the flute is the curd (always delicious in a symphonic cake) and the piano is the ever-dependable bread. But in spite of all the promise the results tend to be bland, sickly and overly moist.

But working on this concert has proved me wrong for three big reasons.

First of all, there’s the calibre of the flautist Kate Walter. She approaches everything with incredible determination not only to despatch everything asked of her (and that’s a lot!), but also to give some rather special energy to the audience. Her kind of lemon curd would have to be infused with something pretty spicy and intoxicating!

Second of all there’s the range of flutes and the dramatic way in which they’re used. Alongside the familiar concert flute expect to hear alto flute and bass flute, with all three being blown, slapped and howled at – as with any organ of pleasure/displeasure (innuendo intended).

And why stop at the flutes? Our composers want the pianist to join in the magic as with the sheer theatre of Amy Beth Kirtsten’s piece, during which I shall be demonstrating some newfound vocal techniques (they are so new I’ve only just discovered them myself). In this context the Feldman-esque textures of Julian Anderson and the finely crafted lines of Terence Allbright reveal some hidden secrets that don’t come out in your average concert rectial.

Ric Graebner’s solo work gives the concert its title: ‘The Magic Bass Flute’. Ric, Terence and myself are all members of New Music Brighton, the largest composers’ collective in the UK.  We host regular concerts at Brighton’s Friends Meeting House (where the Riot Ensemble will also feature in July and October later this year). As it’s a Quaker establishment the intervals are booze-free (obviously the same cannot be said of the post-concert celebrations) so we ply our audiences with cake instead. I am not sure that lemon curd has ever featured on the menu, but if it did then it would taste fresh, zingy and leave you wanting more. And we’ll be bringing some of that culinary magic to North London for this concert!