Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recommendation: Steve Martland - Horses Of Instruction (2001)

You have to at least give this a try!

A few years ago my friend Joren, who I got to know through Prog Archives, introduced me to this composer called Steve Martland (he also mentioned his mentor, Louis Andriessen, but that's for another post). He spoke highly of him, I got curious and bought his cd, Horses Of Instruction.

I am definitely not in a position to comment much about his music, analyze it, or try and "explain" it. What I can do, is pass on my enthusiasm of it, its joviality, its energetic, powerful and rhythmic vibe, its beauty and straight-forwardness. He seems to use old and new elements in the form of an extended orchestra (with modern instruments, including drums) and create modern orchestral music. In horses Of Instructions you'll find bumpy and energetic jazzy tunes, convoluted time signatures, cheerfulness and grace, bombastic approach next to subtlety and playfulness. It is a gorgeous collection of compositions that is accessible and mesmerizing.
Thanks, Joren!

Listen on Rhapsody

Here's a bio of the composer from Schott Music:
"Steve Martland was born on 10 October 1959 in Liverpool and studied composition in Holland with Louis Andriessen. His preoccupation with the function of the composer in society is reflected in his commitment to music education. He has directed many composition projects in schools both at home and abroad and he ran Strike Out, his own annual composition course for school children.

Martland rejects academic dogma in favour of a plurality of musical influences, both ancient and modern, ‘serious’ and vernacular. He has worked frequently with artists outside classical institutions - Dutch and American groups, freelance musicians and especially his own Steve Martland Band which tours his music internationally. In 1998 he collaborated with the band Spiritualized on a project for the Flux Festival in Edinburgh. His music has been adapted frequently for film and TV use, and scores for TV include the multi-media Albion, commissioned by the BBC and Granada TV’s Children’s drama Wilderness Edge. He also wrote and directed 'A Temporary Arrangement with the Sea', a film about Louis Andriessen commissioned by the BBC in co-production with NOS, Holland.

Martland’s large orchestral work Babi Yar (1983) was premiered almost simultaneously in the USA by the St. Louis Sympony under Leonard Slatkin and in the UK by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Nicolas Cleobury under the auspices of spnm (Society for the Promotion of New Music), Babi Yar was subsequently recorded for the ledgendary Factory label. Marland has now re-edited the score and the first performance of this new version was given recently in Glasgow by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Jurjen Hempel as part of a complete Martland evening, supported by the BBC /RPS Encore project.

Often amplified, muscular and powerfully rhythmic, his music has been extensively choreographed: Drill for the Sydney Opera House, Crossing the Border for the National Ballet, Amsterdam. Danceworks, commissioned and premièred by London Contemporary Dance Theatre, has received many new productions around the world, notably by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Ballet Tech in New York. Remix was awarded the SACD Prize for Video Dance Choreography Music after choreographed for BBCTV by Aletta Collins. In 2005, Martland was commissioned by the Henri Oguike Dance Company resulting in Tiger Dancing which remains in the company's repertory.

Most recently Martland wrote the test piece for the TROMP International Music Festival and Competition: Starry Night for percussion and string quartet. His widely performed choral music includes Street Songs, originally for the King’s Singers and Evelyn Glennie and later presented by the Monteverdi Choir and Colin Currie under John Eliot Gardiner with a film by the Quay brothers; and Tyger Tyger, for Youth Music’s nationwide Sing Up campaign. Future plans include more choral music, in collaboration with Paul Hillier.

Martland was composer in residence at the ETNA Music Festival in Sicily in 2006 and 2007."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any comments?