James Weeks House composer
Ravishing. In unfolding an extremely sparse series of rocking intervals between the two instruments it recalled Feldman but - and this seems like an odd thing to say about Feldman's music - with somehow less stodge.
Conveying a compositional rigour worthy of Ockeghem, Weeks builds a busy foliage (yet another nod to the flora imagery of the text) of canonical textures out of strikingly simple melodic gestures. Like the earlier man, Weeks directs these abstract procedures towards the expression of an emotional intensity that results both from the obvious pleasure that can be gained from the exercise of the discipline of musical grammar in itself, and from the poetical density that results from the careful shaping of that grammar into complex sonic events. And so it was the case here; the outwardly punctilious technique of composition gave way to fervency in procedure and affect.
The highlight of the evening...an innovative, impressive work, composed by James Weeks with his biding interest in the bleak landscapes of the English coast in mind.
Weeks, for my money, is one of the most inventive young composers and conductors out there: founder and director of the brilliant young vocal group EXAUDI, his own music is a vivid mix of the unpredictable and experimental, but there's always real refinement in his work, whether instrumental or vocal.
This is a composer who chooses to do a lot with modest materials and is not afraid to let his audience experience this modesty directly...a richly rewarding experience that occupies the listening space long after the music has finished.