In 2012, the Festival commemorated two anniversaries: the birth of American-born composer John Cage, and the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
Who can hear the sea?
An electroacoustic sound installation inspired by the sea was held at St Cybi’s Church, Holyhead between 11:00am and 5:00pm. The music was devised by Ed Wright, with additional performances of compositions by pupils from Ysgol Llaingoch and Ysgol Parchedig Thomas Ellis.
“In developing this piece I tried to record the sound of the sea, free from outside influences such as: wind, road noise and sea gulls, but gradually became aware of a number of issues that arise.
Beside the practical issues of trying to find a silent beach on a windless day, with big waves, water by itself makes little or no noise; it is the matter and energy around it, in it, acting on it and contained in it that makes it sonorous. In addition to this there is the dynamic but structured nature of the sea, it is constantly changing, in an incredibly complex, yet ordered way.
Who Can Hear The Sea? uses recordings of sea waves as its basis and then uses computer processing and techniques such as subtractive synthesis to shape confine and restrict these sounds to create a number of sonic | objects or ‘musical’ statements.”
WNO Max: Gair ar Gnawnd
A world premiere of a Welsh language oratorio by composer Pwyll ap Siôn and poet Menna Elfyn was performed at Galeri Caernarfon. A specially formed community choir performed the work and were be joined by soloists from the world-class Chorus of Welsh National Opera.
ElectroacousticWALES: Denis Smalley Portrait
This concert at Powis Hall by ElectroacousticWALES (directed by Andrew Lewis) featured the electroacoustic music of one of the Country’s most influential composers, Denis Smalley, with further performances of compositions by pupils from Ysgol Llaingoch and Ysgol Parchedig Thomas Ellis.
Yuri Goloubev Trio:
Claudio Filippini (piano)
Yuri Goloubev (double bass)
Asaf Sirkis (drums)
We experienced the ‘impeccable playing technique and a perfect jazz feel’ of the talented Yuri Goloubev Trio in a concert forming part of the UK tour launching their CD Titanic for a Bike. The concert also featured performances of compositions by pupils from Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen and a performance by the Ysgol Tryfan Big Band.
John Cage – Fluxus Event:
Bangor New Music Ensemble with Xenia Pestova (piano)
John Cage: Dream; Living Room Music; Suite for Toy Piano
George Brecht: Comb Music; Dripping Music; Incidental Music – 5 Piano Pieces;Octet for Winds; Suitcase; Three Lamp Events
Luce Fiernes: Balloon Event
Allen Ince: Dinner Plates (premiere)
Guto Pryderi Puw: Empty Cycle (extract); Ski Jump (premiere); Vacuum Cleaner Event (premiere)
Nia Davies Williams: Sound Weave duet (premiere)
La Monte Young: Composition #7 (1960); Piano Piece for Terry Riley #1 (1960);Poem for Chairs, Tables, Benches, etc.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s birth, this alternative event combined a selection of his earlier pieces with experimental compositions inspired by the Fluxus movement.
John Cage (1912-92) was one of the leaders of the American avant-garde movement that came about towards the end of the twenty-first century. Originally from Los Angeles, Cage was associated with various composers including Henry Cowell, Morton Feldman, Messiaen, Boulez and, most notably, Schoenberg. Possibly his most infamous composition remains 4’33”; a silent piece in three movements to be ‘played’ on any instrument. In fact, Cage directs the performer not to play the instrument for the duration of the piece, intending the audience instead to listen to the sounds of the environment in which it is performed.
The Sinking of the Titanic
Ensemble Cymru with Sioned Eleri Roberts (clarinet)
Gavin Bryars: The Sinking of the Titanic
Gareth Peredur Churchill: Ad Profunda (premiere)
Gareth Glyn: Anglesey Seascapes
Emmanouil Kimon Grigoriadis: Ice (premiere)
James MacMillan: Tuireadh
A concert to mark the 100th anniversary of this fateful maiden voyage, with a performance of the iconic piece by Gavin Bryars alongside a lament for the Piper Alpha disaster by James MacMillan and new commissions from Gareth Churchill and Kimon Emmanouil Grigoriadis. Also featured was a new piece by pupils from Ysgol y Traeth, Barmouth
Gavin Bryars (b.1943) is a Yorkshire-born composer. Originally known as a jazz bassist, his compositional reputation evolved after working for a time in America with John Cage. The Sinking of the Titanic originated as a sketch for an art exhibition in Portsmouth but has since been expanded into a version for live performance. Written for indeterminate instrumentation, possible interpretations can include a string ensemble, percussion, low brass, bass clarinet, tapes of speech, keyboard and a music box. Bryars writes: ‘all the materials used in the piece are derived from research and speculations about the sinking of the ‘unsinkable’ luxury liner.’
Masterclass with Ensemble Cymru
A masterclass was held with local clarinettist, violinists and viola players to receive individual tuition from members of Wales’ premiere chamber ensemble.
These masterclasses were presented in collaboration with the Bangor University School of Music, Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias and Gwasanaeth Ysgolion William Mathias.