Rains dampen ‘Canal Serenade’ birthday celebrations
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group was commissioned in 1987 and this September was its 30th birth anniversary. The group had planned a ‘Canal Serenade’ as part of its birthday celebrations. It was a special worked-out birthday piece in which 3 composers collaborated to produce the effect ‘Canal Serenade’. In this, the performance was to be done on narrowboats at the convergence of the three of Birmingham City’s main waterways in the heart of the City.
Unfortunately for BCMG, it started drizzling and there were gusty winds blowing! All of this tended to dampen the whole program. But the BCMG decided to not cancel the feat and continued the performance against all the odds and rains! A never-say-die spirit and determination!
The actual performance
During the first half of the program, Yannis Kyriakides played Music for Barges. In this, a solo trombonist (Tony Howe) summoned electronic responses (given by Beast, the residential ensemble from Birmingham University) from loudspeakers on 3 boats which were approaching the junction from 3 different directions. Ondrej Adamek’s ‘Share the Space’ did the set of voices and percussion of words taken from the canalside signage, while Richard Baker’s Birmingham Canal Songs with instrument backing and a special poem for the occasion by Liz Berry.
The rains affected the performance. The three pieces were supposed to be interleaved. But the persistent drizzle sort of disjointed the whole program and there could not be a convincing musical outcome. The gusty winds also led the voice and sounds to go haywire. The poor players and composers were unable to make it in spite of the protective gears which in fact, negatively affected their performances.
Nonetheless, the positive spirit of the whole program organizers and participants is worth appreciating! Kudos to them for such a determined efforts and brilliant performance in spite of the dampening rains!
The second half of the Canal Serenade was in the covered and dry CBSO Center. Though brief, it too was totally an excellent work!
Canal Serenade would be repeated on 23rd September 2017.
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) was established in 1987 as branch-out of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. This group got an early recognition and fame due to exciting performances, innovative music making, great learning and audience-building experiences, fresh and original music, and great commitment to composers. BCMG is a world leader in contemporary ensemble. It has more than 160 music works and most of these were through its Sound Investment Scheme which was pioneered by the group.
Each new piece of the BCMG is supported by a family of investors. BCMG also has an exhaustive and extensive teaching and participation programs which assists the young composers and performers. The listeners of the music also have special training programs on music. The group has been recognized by the Arts Council of England on a national level and as a National Portfolio Organization.
BCMG has patrons, players, and a management team and board, which is now lead by Artistic Director Stephan Meier. There are also 7 full-time and 5 part-time employees, and London- and Birmingham-based press agents. Its founding patron was Simon Rattle and the group has won several prestigious awards and honors.