New commissions and programmes for 2013 – 2014

Rameau+new sonic worlds (2014) Performance duration 50 minutes
Jean Philippe Rameau
Cinquième concert (D minor)
La Forqueray: La Cupis: La Marais

Geoffrey Poole
Les Ramages

Neal Farwell
Rain From Other Seasons

Jean Philippe Rameau
Quatrième concert (B-flat major)
La pantomime: L’indiscrète: La Rameau

Alexander Glyde-Bates
Objet d’Art

Geoffrey Poole: Les Ramages
Les Ramages is written in the French tradition of the ‘Apotheosis’, celebrating the spirit of Rameau. The title refers to songs or birdcalls, and the music shifts between allusions to Rameau’s harpsichord piece Le Rappel des Oiseaux and the birdsongs that inspired him – making good use of Stephen Preston’s own researches into ecosonics and contemporary sound on the baroque flute, and unusual usage of the bass viol. GP
Geoffrey Poole, composer, pianist, and professor emeritus of Bristol University, has composed extensively for baroque instruments, as well as for African, Korean, and Javanese performance forces and the usual genres of orchestral, choral, vocal, instrumental and virtuoso solo works. His music has been performed in over thirty countries. He holds a D.Mus from the University of Southampton (1990).

Neal Farwell: Rain From Other Seasons for baroque flute, viola da gamba, harpsichord, and electronics
A rainy day, somewhere in France. Drops strike the window, coalesce and run. Through the sliding lens of water, a figure appears in the distance, approaches … walks past. A shadow. A memory. Who? … M. Rameau? It’s hard to tell, now.
A collection of thoughts ran together in this piece. Jean-Philippe Rameau first came to widespread acclaim as a music theorist, and that idea of systematic models for musicfigures (but only as an idea) in the way I conceived the role of the electronics. Rameau’s 1722 Treatise on Harmony had an important influence on the formal teaching of music; which, perversely, made me think of the 20th-century Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, who was largely self-taught. Some of Takemitsu’s most beautiful work conjures images of water in motion. He was prolific also as a film composer, provoking my scenographic vignette. And, never mind the theory, Rameau’s five Pièces de Clavecin en Concerts are full of life and character, and the whole set, in sequence as it happens, are dissolved somewhere in my Rain.
This piece was conceived before the endlessly rainy weather of January-February 2014 set in. But the composition happened during that period, and the sound, of rain drumming on the skylight and window of my study, has probably found its way into the music. NF
Neal Farwell is a composer of rare breadth, a creator of music for instruments, voices, electronics, and many kinds of combination. His music has been performed in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand. After studies in the UK and USA, Neal joined the University of Bristol where he is a senior lecturer in music and currently deputy head of the School of Arts. Neal is active also as a performer, regularly conducting the University Symphony Orchestra and New Music Ensemble, working with outside ensembles, and presenting the electroacoustic concert series Sonic Voyages.

Alex Glyde-Bates: Objet d’Art
Objet d’Art is, in many respects, a satire on the practice of (mis)representing and (mis)reading historical objects for contemporary purposes, often in the face of little or even contradictory evidence. Taking Rameau’s fourth Pièce de clavecin en concert as its basis, Objet d’Art, rather than directly deriving its material and structure from its source in an analytical fashion, treats Rameau’s original like a damaged archaeological object — fragments of a pot unearthed after centuries — to be reconstructed again according to the philosophies and thought of their contemporary interpreters.
Using chance procedures I passed over the three instrumental parts of the original score and redacted sections to leave me with a handful of surviving ‘musical fragments’ of lengths ranging from just a few notes to complete passages. I then set about trying to ‘reconstruct’ the original from these musical remnants, but in a way that was highly skeptical of attempts to any sense of historical authenticity. The musical remnants are randomly ordered; key signatures are sometimes removed or misread, as are clefs; Baroque notation is misread as twentieth-century notations that bear little no relation to the original meaning; sequences are treated chromatically rather than diatonically; even the performers themselves are directed to approach their instruments as if they were their modern counterparts. By doing so, the piece hopes to highlight the often-insurmountable distance between an historical object’s original context and the limits of our knowledge of that context. AG-B
Originally from Cambridgeshire, Alexander relocated to Southampton to begin his undergraduate studies in 2007. Studying composition with Michael Zev Gordon and Michael Finnissy, he graduated with first class honours in 2010, and in 2011 he received a distinction for his masters degree in composition. After taking a two-year hiatus Alexander returned to Southampton to study for a PhD at the University under the supervision of Matthew Shlomowitz and Michael Finnissy. His studies are generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Alexander’s music has been performed in the UK and in Europe, by amongst others: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Brussels-based G.A.M.E, and workshopped by Juliet Fraser (soprano) and Mark Knoop (piano). Other projects for 2014 include a new piece for pianist Mark Knoop and dancer Shila Anaraki.

Jean-Philippe Rameau – Pièces de clavecin en concerts V & IV
Rameau’s five Pièces de clavecin en concerts (published 1741) are unparalleled, there are no other trios of the period like them. Essentially they seem to be what the title says they are, harpsichord pieces in concert with other instruments. Rameau has retained the typically French device of titled character pieces rather than casting them in the more up to date form (for France) of sonatas. The titles are useful in reminding us that the French had an aversion to abstract music-making and consequently serve as a vital imaginative interpretive stimulus. In publishing the pieces in full score rather than separate parts and in prefacing them with precise instructions Rameau indicates that he has very definite ideas about their performance. Typically for the period, as an alternative to the violin the flute is allowed omissions and transpositions in places where there are double stops or its lower range is exceeded. However the musical significance of omission is brought to our attention in the five movements Rameau provides as examples of how to play the Pièces as harpsichord solos (and in the second violin part that substitutes for the viola da gamba). It’s apparent through the material he omits that the focus of musical meaning may be something unanticipatedly other than what we might assume it to be. It provokes questions, do we have any real understanding of what was regarded as important in C18th music making or the slightest grasp of its realities in practice? Are we not engaging with a musical culture that is far more flexible in its practice than we can possibly imagine? Whatever the answers the Pièces are a remarkable musical legacy of an extraordinary composer. SP

New Music North West Festival (2013) Programme duration 40 minutes
Alan Edward Williams
Queries and Advices (with electronics)

Gillian Menichino
… to a beginning from no end

Fabrice Fitch
Agricola VIII/Obrecht Canon III:De tous bien plaine/Tinguely Brunnen

Andrea Riley
À l’intérieur

Kevin Malone
Tacet al Fine (with fixed electronics)

Performing in the NMNW Festival was something Trio Aporia could not miss. It was a great opportunity to work with five of the region’s many talented composers and in Manchester, which offers the richest musical life of any city in the UK . Also the Festival offered the perfect occasion for the Trio to fulfil its main raison d’être – to work with composers in developing new repertoire and to offer them opportunities to explore a relatively unknown sonic world.
The engagement of electronics with our instruments offers a potent, excitingly rich field for exploration. In today’s programme this engagement takes the form of relationships between outer worlds evoked electronically and inner worlds made audible instrumentally. It is extraordinarily satisfying to shape music spontaneously in live performance, which is what we do with Alan Edward Williams in his wonderful piece based on Quaker spiritual practice, Advices and Queries.
When Gillian Menichino called her evocatively active piece … to a beginning from no end she could not have known how apt the title was to Trio Aporia. Gillian writes “that [the piece] doesn’t necessarily begin nor does it really end. I had written it without a preconceived concept of an ‘official’ opening, rather I look at it as an up-close framing of musical material from within the middle of a complete work”.
Fabrice Fitch’s extraordinary, intense Agricola VIII / Obrecht Canon III: De tous biens plaine / Tinguely-Brunnen focuses almost exclusively on one mode of sound production for each instrument. The result is remarkable. In spite of the abstract, canonic form and the requirement that players to respond exclusively to the demands of their individual parts, techniques that are generally employed more briefly as effect, here accumulate a strongly suggestive affectivity.
The technology of our instruments places them in a different relationship to both player and listener than the more familiar instruments that were the products of 19th century industrial society. It is not just a difference of loudness. In describing the ideas behind her delicately poised piece À l’intérieur, Andrea Riley comments “the nature of the instruments suggested music that has a sense of intimacy. À l’intérieur aims to express the personal and private nature of chamber music; it seeks to draw the listener close.” This sense of intimacy lies not, as might seem simply in the quietness of the instruments and their sonic characteristics. These things can be changed electronically. It is the nature of the materials and their construction that offer the player a quality of physical engagement enabling an immediacy of response that can reflect the slightest inflections of feeling and movement.
Kevin Malone’s very moving Tacet al Fine was inspired by an anonymous letter written just before the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies. It is the electronic presence of the child’s voice reading the words of the letter that draws out so perfectly the potential of our instruments to explore the expressive flow of an imagined, solace-seeking, interior world.

Edward Cowie: Papillons d’Australie
Duncan Druce: Coulicam revisited
Allen S Weiss: Sonate pour clarines et trio baroque
Simon Emmerson: tba

David Toop: tba

Contemporary & Modern (20th century)

British Experimentalist/Minimalist project
Christopher Hobbs Daughter of Luna
Hugh Shrapnel: Triamena
Michael Parsons: tba
Howard Skempton: Waltz
Special thanks to Virginia Anderson, Christopher Hobbs, Michael Parsons, Hugh Shrapnell for their advice and support for this project and for generously arranging their music for Trio Aporia.

Historical (18th-19th century and earlier)
NOTE: We like to include at least one contemporary piece in our historical programmes.

Mixed programme
Jean-Philippe Rameau: Pièce de clavecin en concert V, harpsichord, flute & viola da gamba
Marin Marais: Tombeau pour M. de Lully, viola da gamba & continuo
G.F.Handel: Sonata in A minor, HWV 374, flute & continuo
J.S.Bach: Trio in G, BWV 1039, flute, viola da gamba & continuo
J.S.Bach: Chromatic Fantasia, BWV 903, harpsichord
Jean-Marie Leclair: Trio in D, flute, viola da gamba & continuo

Venetian programme
Girolamo dalla Casa, Variations for viola bastarda from “Il Vero Modo di diminuir…”
Giuseppe Tartini Solo a Flauto Traverso è Basso
Baldassare Galuppi Sonata per il Cembalo in D major
Antonio Lotti Sonata in F for flauto traversier, viola da gamba & cembalo