Weeks scoops BASCA with ‘Libro di fiammelle e ombre’

UYMP is delighted that James Weeks has been announced as winner of the 2018 BASCA Awards Chamber Ensemble category, for his work Libro di fiammelle e ombre for 6 solo voices.  James’ composition was chosen from a distinguished shortlist which included works by James Dillon and the late Oliver Knussen. Libro di fiammelle e ombre was written to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the EXAUDI ensemble, who gave the premiere at the Wigmore Hall on 1st April 2017, conducted by James Weeks. The work forms part of EXAUDI’s continuing Italian Madrigal Book project and comprises a sequence of 12 very short madrigals which use texts from Arcadelt’s Primo Libro de’ Madrigali (1539).

The title, ‘Book of little flames and shadows’, explores the ‘poetry of sound in the sound of poetry’ – the close union of text and music idealised by the early madrigal pioneers.  Weeks has written: ‘The text itself, and its many transformations within the music, is of primary importance: one of the features of the piece is the use of speech and singing together, the one blending with, shading or colouring the other in various different ways.  Rather than set each text completely, however, I treat it as a found object, distilling the emotional and semantic content of the poetry into a succession of single sound-images (or sound-conceits).’

The awards, hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Sara Mohr-Pietsch and Andrew McGregor, were presented at the British Museum, London, on December 4th 2018, in a ceremony which included a performance in memory of Oliver Knussen, given by musicians from the Royal Academy of Music.

Crispin Hunt, Chair at BASCA, said: “The passion, creativity and dedication to music demonstrated by this year’s winners is deeply inspiring and humbling. A record year for submissions, the new music landscape in Britain proves itself time and again to be more vibrant, dynamic and vivacious than ever, engaging with a diverse range of ideas and audiences. This is a hugely exciting time to be a creator or appreciator of new music.”

Nigel Elderton, PRS Chairman, said: “Congratulations from all of us at PRS for Music to the well-deserved winners from this year’s British Composer Awards, and thank you for the fantastic music you create which continues to enrich our lives.”

BASCA Awards are sponsored by PRS for Music in association with exclusive broadcast coverage from BBC Radio 3. Sara Mohr-Pietsch and Andrew McGregor will report from the BASCA Awards ceremony on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 9th December at 9.20am in the programme British Composer Awards 2018. BASCA Awards celebrate the art of composition and showcase the creative talent of contemporary composers and sound artists. This year 37 composers were nominated for the awards, across 12 categories which include amateur or young performers, choral, jazz, community or education project, chamber ensemble, stage works, wind or brass band, innovation and inspiration.

UYMP offers many congratulations to James on this most prestigious award.

Photo credit: Mark Allan

(5 Dec 2018)

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