- 30 miniatures for solo piano.
The response to the first Spectrum anthology showed, in a most gratifying
way, that there is a hunger for contemporary music among players of all
ages and of widely different attainments. And now a volume of thirty specially
commissioned easier pieces, Spectrum 2, has just been published. Addressing,
for the moment, early instrumental experience, it is clearly essential
that high quality new music should be available to children: we have a
responsibility to ensure that they are familiar with the languages of
our time. Furthermore, the communal and private delight, discipline and
co-ordination that are all part of making music are enriched by the sense
of exploration and discovery attached to preparing a new work, as well
as the awareness that few (if any) others have played it before. This
last factor has been a revelation to me: I had not appreciated how much
the freedom from the weight of a performance tradition can contribute
to the growth of confidence.
In recent years there has been much contact between professional orchestras,
ensembles, composers and schoolchildren. Although of variable quality,
many of these projects have clearly been invaluable in providing inspiration
and stimulus to teachers and students. If such exercises lead to regular,
structured involvement, the long-term benefits may be rich indeed.
What has been largely ignored, though, is the need for relatively easy,
musically uncompromising new instrumental works by our finest composers:
pieces that are both modest in technical challenge and duration, whilst
being identifiably in their composersÕ concert-music style. Emphatically
not studies, emphatically not jokey pieces patronisingly written Ôfor
childrenÕ - but pieces that lie within the technical grasp of non-professional
players and are, at the same time, entirely suitable for the concert platform.
Such music of this kind that exists is little published. It is crazy that
good contemporary music should be the exclusive preserve of professional
The Spectrum collections for solo piano, although they are intended for
amateur and professional players at least as much as for children, aim
to address this lack.
Besides offering players an introduction to many styles in new music,
the pieces have also proved useful models for student composers. Since
ABRSM (Publishing) Ltd produced the first volume in 1996, there have been
numerous performances by students, amateurs and professionals in this
country and professional performances have taken place as far afield as
the USA and Vietnam. Set pieces have been chosen from Spectrum for examinations
and festivals. The need and demand for such music is clear. Please, composers
and publishers, provide us with more - for all instruments.
ÔMy daughter now approaches contemporary pieces as naturally
as she does music of the eighteenth centuryÕ
(parent of a Spectrum-owning student)
ÔI thought it was really weird at first but I love it nowÕ (student
performer at the world premi�re)
ÔOf course, IÕd much rather be listening to the Missa SolemnisÕ
(old lady in front row at a recital I gave last summer)
ÔAt last - a piece by a new complexity composer that I can playÕ
Spectrum - 20 contemporary works for solo piano and Spectrum 2 - 30 miniatures
for solo piano are published by ABRSM (Publishing) Ltd. They were commissioned
by Thalia Myers with financial assistance from the Arts Council of England,
The Holst Foundation and The Britten-Pears Foundation (Spectrum) and from
the Britten-Pears Foundation (Spectrum 2).
The monthly listings magazine new
notes is essential reading for composers, performers, and everyone
interested in what's new in new music. In its printed version new notes
reaches over 5,000 contemporary music enthusiasts in the UK and around
If you promote new music events you should advertise them in new notes.
Single concert listings are just £60+VAT. The magazine also features
ads for festivals, composer competitions, recordings and more.
new notes also features
monthly articles on issues at the forefront of new music
special offers on CDs, tickets, scores and books for spnm members
information about forthcoming spnm events
a free classified section for spnm members' non-trade ads.
For full details on advertising or inserting leaflets in new notes
please contact the Editor Rachel Duncombe:
for this month
Hoxton Hall New Music Days
Bath International Music Festival is 50.
Who is Georges Aperghis?
On frost, birth and death
Now that's what I call contemporary!
Forty years of madness?
To plug in or not to plug in?
No, honestly it is a cello
Composing for film
New music on old instruments
Blue sheep of record companies
spnm looks to the future
New Music 98 in Manchester