Jeremy Dale Roberts to be remembered at the 2017 British Composer Awards

BASCA will remember the late Jeremy Dale Roberts, who passed away on 11 July this year, at the 2017 British Composer Awards with a performance of selected short pieces from Croquis for String Trio.

Croquis was commissioned by the BBC for members of the Arditti Quartet in 1980 and comprises three ‘Cahiers’ of 27 short pieces for String Trio. Members of the Kreutzer Quartet will perform selected short pieces at the ceremony in remembrance of Jeremy’s contribution to British music.

Jeremy, when writing about Croquis, accounted that 'one of the strongest stimuli had been the musical character and sound of the players for whom I was writing: the members of the Arditti Quartet – a virtuosity and prodigious generosity of character I have also been privileged to re-encounter in the members of the Kreutzer Quartet. Another was my re-awakened delight in all forms of miniature artistry: not only the supreme musical models of Couperin, Beethoven, Scriabin, Webern and many others; but also, for instance, the poetry and artefacts of the Far East; Blake’s wood-cuts; the daily jottings of Beaudelaire – what he called his ‘squibbs’; the drawings of Watteau – where the subject is sometimes reduced to a mere fragment of costume or a girl’s nostrils.

‘Croquis’ means ‘sketch’; and in this collection – as in any album – there is to be found not only finished work, precisely organized, but also the odd scribble, dashed off: as it were, provisional. The pieces are gathered together in three ‘Cahiers’, or portfolios, and can be performed in a number of different ways: as a framework to a programme in which items for other media could be interleaved; or extracts could be used judiciously as ‘fillers’ between more substantial fare – in other words as a kind of spice, entremet; or simply as an anthology. Although I took care to impose some sort of organization within each of the three parts as well as over all, in a way I’d prefer listeners to ‘nibble’ at these pieces, rather than expect a solid meal: what the French might call a dégustation. Or perhaps, a meze or a string of tapas…'

The British Composer Awards celebrate the art of composition and showcase the creative talent of contemporary composers and sound artists. They are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music; in association with BBC Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage. The 15th British Composer Awards take place on Wednesday 6 December at the British Museum in London.

Croquis, recorded by Kreutzer Quartet members Peter Sheppart Skaerved (violin), Morgan Goff (viola) and Niel Heyde (cello) is available on NMC Recordings.

(6 Nov 2017)

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