Wonderful reviews of numbers 76-80 : tristan und isolde
7 October 2011 - news
numbers 76-80 : tristan und isolde was performed brilliantly by EXAUDI and Endymion under the direction of James Weeks on Monday 19th September. I was really delighted, and the Purcell Room at Southbank was pretty busy too.
There was a wonderful 4-star review by Guy Dammann in the Guardian the following day. It said
Venables’s text is an extract from Simon Howard’s surreal epic Numbers, concerning a swarm of wasps sculpted into a bust of the Marquis de Sade and presented to the local police. The music is duly playful and occasionally disturbing. The sound image of a face forming from shapeless buzzing was beautifully achieved, as was the concluding high G sustained by the soprano, capturing a nicely pared-down Liebestod.
Seen and Heard were also reviewing the concert, and had great stuff to say about my piece:
Numbers 76-80: Tristan und Isolde, by Philip Venables, began in a striking fashion with the quartet bashing out perfect fifths fortissimo; as the piece develops the excellent EXAUDI singers spoke most of Simon Howard’s strangely exciting if rather baffling poem. There’s genuine wit here, and pathos, and really terrifically flamboyant writing for the instrumentalists. What a thrilling moment there was when the singers suddenly burst into song rather than the spoken word! This composer is gaining a great reputation for original and sometimes quite brutally exhilarating music, and it’s well worth watching out for him.