I hope you have started the new year in good spirits! After a cosy, albeit snowless, Finnish Christmas and a very relaxing week spent in the company of Henri and my dear ‘friends’ Hercule and Jane, James (in various disguises) and the wonderful talents of Alfred, I find myself happily getting back into more musical activities.
Best wishes and happy thoughts,
Cahiers Trouvés for Henri Växby
The first event of this year will take place at the February edition of Rational Rec, the monthly interart social occasion at the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club. This time, they have commissioned six composers to write a new work for the occasion. Henri Vaxby will play my new large-format score for solo electric guitars, Cahiers Trouvés
which is inspired by the Cahiers du Cinema and the French Nouvelle Vague films of the 1950s/1960s. The other featured composers are Michael Finnissy, Laurence Crane, Alwynne Pritchard, Jonathan Powell and Gys Kramer. New Rational Music offers new audiences a unique opportunity to experience contemporary music in a welcoming setting, contrasting with the usual concert venues traditionally associated with notated music. Come along and be artistically, intellectually and alcoholically stimulated. www.rationalrec.org.uk
Tuesday, 5th February 2008
New Rational Music
Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, 44 Pollard Row, London E2 6NB
Doors open 8pm, first act 8.30pm, entry £5
Siegfried & Melusina ( for toy pianos, musical boxes and shadow puppetry) for Kate Ryder
On 13th February, Kate Ryder will premiere my new solo piece for toy pianos, shadow puppetry and musical boxes at Liverpool University. The piece is based on the Luxembourgish version of the tale of Melusina, the mermaid who was married to count Siegfried of Luxembourg. Ellan Parry, with whom I have previously collaborated on ‘MiE’ , ‘Neige’, and ‘Purblind in … The New Adventures of Dead-Eye Parry and the Blindfold Cat’, is designing the puppets for the show. Siegfried & Melusina
will be performed again in London and possibly in the States later in the year. www.kateryder.co.uk www.ellanparry.co.uk
‘Melusina is said to have been the wife of the founder of Luxembourg, Count Siegfried. When they married, she had one particular request, namely that Siegfried must leave her alone for one full day and night every month, and that he should not ask or try to find out what she was doing. Of course, Melusina was such a beautiful girl, that Siegfried could not refuse her this one small wish, and all went well for years and years, when on the first Wednesday of the month, Melusina would retire into her chambers in the “Casemates,” a network of caverns underneath the city, not to be seen again until early light on Thursday. But one day, Siegfried’s curiosity got the better of him. Wondering what on earth she might be doing alone all the time, he peeped through the keyhole, and was shocked to see that Melusina was lying in the bathtub, with a fishtail hanging over the rim. As you all know, mermaids like Melusina, have a very keen sixth sense, which tells them instantly that they are being watched, and thus she recognized her husband through the door, and jumped out of the window into the river Alzette below, never to be seen again. — Except every now and then, some people say they have seen a beautiful girl’s head pop out of the river, and a fishtail rippling the calm waters of the river Alzette.’ http://www.luxembourg.co.uk/legends.html#melusina
The MiE DVD recently got reviewed on the SPNM website for their New Notes Magazine. Here is an extract from it. You can find the whole review on the MiE page on this website or on www.spnm.org.uk
You can still buy a copy of the DVD for £10 from my website www.catherinekontz.com and www.myspace.com/catherinekontz.
‘…the musicians are not hidden away in a pit but are visibly present throughout (possibly due to limited theatre space, but they seem a part of the total theatrical conception) acting like a white-suited landscape to contrast with the mimes. The music does not support the visual action as such but acts as a parallel stream, establishing a subconsciously symbiotic relationship between sound and visual action. The soundworld exists somewhere between an experimental, sometimes ethereal world of recorders, glass harmonica, analogue electronics, and the Wizard’s water-based sounds, and a more hieratic, strident brass and percussion-led sound reminiscent of Messiaen and Birtwistle….This DVD film of the event (sold out over a six night run) is very well handled, with the use of subtle video effects in certain sections which serve the piece well….The sheer effort of mounting a large-scale, independent event like this deserves hearty applause for Kontz and her collaborators, but the piece too is well worth exploring and bodes well for future developments.’
Stephen Chase, new notes Reviews, December 2007
On Wednesday, 27th February, Icons of Elegance will be playing the Electroacoustic Club at the Slaughtered Lamb, London. Depending on if the Vaxby brothers need me, I may join the on piano or Wurlitzer. They will probably be previewing tracks from their forthcoming third album which is being mixed at the moment. More info at www.iconsofelegance.com and www.myspace.com/iconsofelegance.
In 2008 you can also expect a new work involving Rhodri and Angharad Davies and a trip to Luxembourg, a concert of new music in Helsinki, Finland curated by Henri Vaxby, John Lely and myself as well as the beginnings of working on a large scale collaborartion with Ellan Parry and Alexia Anastasiadis. There will be some changes and additions to my website with films and recordings of ‘MiE’, ‘Neige’ and ‘Anthill’ coming soon. I will also be starting my own publishing company for my scores, which will be available to buy from my website. My band Cartridge will be recording their second album in April and une cartouche, the free improv duo I have with Henri Vaxby, will have a couple of appearances and a possible release. It should be a very exciting year!
I have also attached a photo from ‘Neige’ which Veronique Nosbaum and I performed in Dudelange, Luxembourg, in December 2007. Just for fun!