50 Things: Alwynne Pritchard’s Craw
Tim Rutherford Johnson
British Music Collection
Sounds Funny: A Report from the Borealis Festival
Tim Rutherford Johnson
from neue musikzeitung Michael Zwenzner
„Von Schuberts gleichnamigem Lied inspirierte, aber stilistisch eigenständige, hoch chromatische Charakterstücke im Spannungsfeld zwischen Konstruktion und Ausdruck, Klangsinn und Rhetorik, Gesang und Geste, wuchernder Freiheit und maßvoller Strenge. Feinst auskomponierte Agogik. Bipolares Diptychon: „Im trüben Licht“ mit vorwiegend in der Tiefe dräuenden Klangwolken bezieht seine Spannung aus Überlagerungen binär und triolisch unterteilter Viertel als Folie für irreguläre Rhythmik. Das seriell anmutende „Er spricht“ nähert sich der komplexen Deklamation freier Rede. Herkömmliche Notation, im 1. Stück präzis notierte Dauern ohne Metrum; im 2. Stück fast stetig wechselnde, kleinteilige Taktvorzeichnungen. In diesem teils grüblerisch-trotzigen, teils fragil singenden Frühwerk knüpft Pritchard unterbewusst an eigene kulturelle Wurzeln an, ohne dabei in Nostalgie zu verfallen. Die Klangwelten Skrjabins, Weberns oder des frühen Feldman scheinen hier im Dienste individuellen Ausdrucks amalgamiert.“
from Italien-Kunst.dk Karin Grand
“Valget af Alwynne Pritchard er interessant, fordi hun fysisk set fremstår som en næsten diametral modsætning til den Alda Merini… Alwynne besidder derimod en meget udvandt, dynamisk og næsten magnetisk kropslig energi. Hendes lysende udstråling forstærkes af den glatbarberede isse, et par klare grønne og nysgerrigt vågne øjne. Hun ligner Aldas ord, men ikke hende selv.”
“(The choice of Alwynne Pritchard is interesting because she is physically almost the exact opposite of Alda Merini… Alwynne possesses instead an extracted, dynamic and almost magnetic bodily energy. Her luminous radiance is enhanced by the clean-shaven head, a pair of bright green, alert and curious eyes. She looks like Alda’s words, but not like Alda herself.)”
from The Quietus John Doran
Europe After The Rain: J.G. Ballard & Only Connect
Review of the premiere performance of Kingdom Come.
from The Wire Andy Hamilton
“The theme of this year’s Borealis festival was Alchemy, and alchemical transmutation took various forms through a brilliantly conceived and executed programme. The cost of the Splitter ensemble and staging for François Sarhan’s new work The Last Lighthouse Keepers meant that there were fewer events. But it continued to attract a strikingly young audience…” Read More
from frieze Jennifer Higgie
Borealis Festival 2014
from ADRESSA Yngyil Bjella Anes
David Bowie slik du aldri har hørt ham
Review of the Alpaca ensemble performance of Oh no love, you’re not alone.
from BADISCHE ZEITUNG Nikola Mirkovic
Percussion und Popkorn
Das Ensemble Recherche im Freiburger Morat-Institut
“Kurzweilig und amüsant ist der Abend. Besonders aber gilt das für Alwynne Pritchards Objects of Desire. Das Stück der anwesenden Komponistin liefert das Motto für das Programm und bietet den Musikern vom Ensemble Recherche die spannende Gelegenheit, die emotionale Beziehung zu ihren Instrumenten auszuloten.
Es ist eine Liebesbeziehung. Wie könn- te es auch anders sein! Aber wenn Shizu- yo Oka ihre Klarinette mit Seidentüchern verschnürt und Martin Fahlenbock seiner Kollegin Melise Mellinger mit viel Zartge- fühl hilft, ihre Geige zu verstimmen, dann gewinnt diese Performance auch einen ungemein komischen Charakter. Barbara Maurers narzisstisch selbstversunkene Viola-Übungen vorm Spiegel entfalten zu- dem eine gewisse Erotik und psychologi- sche Tiefe. Auch die hier vorgeführte In- nerlichkeit ist jedoch ironisch gebrochen. Den komischen Höhepunkt des Stücks setzt Christian Dierstein. Er macht Pop- corn. Im Wok. Es duftet. Man fühlt sich wie im Kino. Aber das Knacken der Mais- körner ist in diesem Moment irgendwie auch eine Art von Percussion.”
from ALL ABOUT JAZZ – NEW YORK Ken Waxman
“With a delivery between that of a rock-music diva and a verbal and physical contortionist, the Norwegian-based Pritchard easily slithered underneath the piano, knocked on its bottom board and caressed its trusses while alternating between banshee-like wails and wolf-like howls.
from THE TELEGRAPH Ivan Hewett
“The best of them came from composer/vocalist Alwynne Pritchard and Guido Hennebohl, who played his own home-made electronic “instrument”. Their joint improvisation was playful, sinister and altogether riveting.”
“Den Willen der schottischen Komponistin Alwynne Pritchard dagegen bemühten sie sich unmittelbar zu erfüllen, deren Stück As In Heaven für 6 Stimmen nach einem Text der Heiligen Elisabeth höchste Einheit aus der Vielfalt gewinnt. In nur zweieinhalb Minuten springen Sopranstimmen ekstatisch in extreme Höhen, scheinen weite Klangflächen auf, die rasch verschwinden, schmeicheln Männerstimmen kurz, doch bewegt: ein erstaunlich bunter Kosmos, dessen Schwerezentrum stets spürbar bleibt, lebendig, pulsierend noch in den Pausen und damit eine wundervolle Texttransformation, geht es Elisabeth doch um den Wunsch, Gottes Willen möge auf Erden und in ihr so genau erfüllt werden wie im Himmel.”
from DE TELEGRAAF, Holland Bella Luttmer
Poetic combination of electronics and live music
from THE GUARDIAN Andrew Clements
“Alwynne Pritchard’s miniature study Craw had a coherence that was admirable…”
from THE TELEGRAPH John Allison
“Alwynne Pritchard’s…Craw…disclosed a composer of originality; her eerie piece is characterised by sparse sounds and long silences.”
from THE TIMES Gerald Larner
“Among the younger British composers featured, one of most interesting was Alwynne Pritchard. Her intriguingly scored Craw, written for Reservoir, was clearly dictated by ear rather than by formula and had a corresponding aural appeal in its delicate colouring and sensitive applications of dynamic pressure.”
from THE INDEPENDENT Nicholas Williams
“Craw, by Alwynne Pritchard, refreshed the palate with silence and delicate atonality a la Webern.. the writing was cool and lucid, like frosted flowers in morning sunlight.”
from SAN DIFFUSION Dominic Kelly
“…the first piece in the programme was Alwynne Pritchard’s Matrix… I was immediately struck by the sheer variety of sounds [Darragh] Morgan managed to achieve from his violectra. Effective amplification revealed gritty textures and the otherwise inaudible inner-content of sounds; a reassuringly creative use for amplification than a mere gimmick to base a piece around. Although a piece for solo amlified violin, the effect was surprisingly electroacoustic and alluded to computer generation by virtue of the range and contrast of sounds teased out from the violin; loud pizzicato notes sounding like bell chimes, periphonic harmonics sounding like sine waves, skillfully sinewy seamless bow changes as if time-stretched on a sound-processor, long and progressive ritardandi suggestive of accurate computer control and sudden silences as if cleanly muted by the sequencer… This piece had great integrity, it was evocative, the title and explanation appropriate and it maintained the attention of the audience.”
“A disc of visionary and experimental music from the radical voice of her generation, Alwynne Pritchard, INVISIBLE CITIES features solo and chamber works performed by renowned soloists Ian Pace, Darragh Morgan, Alan Thomas and members of TOPOLOGIES. Continuing Metier’s critically acclaimed recent series of discs featuring challenging compositional voices in exemplary performances”
from GRAMOPHONE Richard Whitehouse
“Now in her early thirties, Alwynne Pritchard has been a presence on the British new music scene for more than a decade. As this disc amply demonstrates, her take on post-war European Modernism owes little to any prescribed school or system, drawing on a range of compositional approaches in music which is often punchy and uncompromising but always engaging.
After the jagged intricacy of Spring (a brief tribute to Michael Finnissy on his 50th birthday), the Piano Quartet deploys elements of the folksong Barbara Allen in a sparse, pointillist context. Nostos Ou Topos explores the concept of ‘returning to no place in particular’, following two compositional paths through three continuous sections of microtonally-inflected guitar writing.
Matrix employs a similar strategy – working methodically through eight related groups of ideas, with a wide range of playing techniques and a powerfully evocative use of silence. The brooding, expressionistic pianism of Der Zwerg is a little too unrelieved, but Kit attains its theatrical immediacy through simply yet telling performance instructions and a couple of distinctive ‘found’ texts. Der Glücklose Engel pointedly contrasts dualities of movement, time and sound in music which sets the instrumental trio in continual though productive opposition. Finally, Invisible Cities draws on the last sentence of Italo Calvino’s book to create a maze as diverse interpretatively as it is musically intriguing.
With formidably well-realised performances from the members of Topologies (Darragh Morgan fearlessly mining the potential of the electric violin in Matrix), and sound which finds clarity and impact in a variety of recording locations, this is an important disc, helping to ensure that Alwynne Pritchard’s music can be heard as well as discussed.”
from THE WIRE Philip Clark
“Alwynne Pritchard is an energetic and provocative presence on the British New Music scene. Now that we’re in the new millennium, [she] is questioning everything about her own musical assumptions and here are some of the answers, brilliantly performed by members of Pace’s Topologies ensemble. Most striking [is] the electric violin work Matrix (2001), while the juxtaposition of tonal slabs against pointallistic fuzz heard in her Piano Quintet presents and intriguing collision of opposites. Pace performs the highly virtuosic semi-improvised solo piece Invisible Cities with his customary élan.”
from MUSICWEB Christopher Thomas
“Pritchard’s music challenges, quite deliberately so, on a number of levels. Not least of these is her involvement of both performer and listener in the creative process. The works given here can be seen as sound sculptures, or installations, set within a landscape in which the listener navigates and finds their own way through the silences that often separate the strands of musical material, a use of silence that is both deft and vital to the music’s conception. In a similar way the performer plays a significant part in the interpretative or architectural elements of the work, the composer providing options as to how the performer should proceed through the piece.
This concept is perhaps most obvious in Nostos Ou Topos for solo guitar, in which the performance is not considered complete until the soloist has completed two versions of the material. In Matrix, for solo electric violin, undoubtedly one of the most challenging works for the listener and also, along with Invisible Cities, the longest at over thirteen and a half minutes, Pritchard provides the performer with eight “spokes” of musical material resulting in a multitude of possible permutations in performance. Kit is a further extension of similar principles, composed with performance by children in mind, and comprising a “kit” of almost entirely written instructions other than a grid of pitches from which the performer can select. Proof here also that Pritchard has a sense of humour…. her manic recitation of the Spanish instructions for her food processor is not to be missed!
Spring, an appropriate choice to open the CD, is a fleeting yet exuberant fiftieth birthday piece for Michael Finnissy, virtuosic and calling for a technique from the solo pianist that no doubt owes part of its inspiration to Finnissy’s own formidable ability on the instrument. In stark contrast, Piano Quintet: Barbara Allen, still bears the characteristic fragmentation and use of space that is present in all of Pritchard’s work but combines this with a fragility that reflects the inspiration for the work, the death of twenty six children in the Silkstone Colliery disaster of 1838.
Certainly not a disc for the unadventurous… but for those who are prepared to be challenged Alwynne Pritchard’s music can be both rewarding and thought provoking.”
from CLASSICAL.NET Peter Grahame Woolf
“Pritchard seems fascinated by games and mazes; you can be assured that you are purchasing a unique performance of Invisible Cities, which offer several possible routes between the first and last words of a sentence by Italo Calvino. The pianist has to juggle the intermediate pages at choice but according to set rules; this exemplifies the role of performer as co-collaborator.
One is not expected to understand why notes and gestures occur as and when they do; Pritchard composes from moment to moment, never filling a preconceived mould, seeking an open approach to listening, raising more questions than providing answers.
The performances, recorded in vivid sound, presumably in association with the composer, are persuasive and this is an intriguing release.”
from CD SPOTLIGHT Patric Standford
“There is no doubt that Alwynne Pritchard is an original inventor in the soundscaping business. Her work is a series of sound installations relying as much on the vividly inventive imaginations and interpretations of her performers as upon her own visually diverting but esoteric scores. She places sounds in a broad landscape of silence inviting her listeners to wait for events and find their own associations with which to make sense of their apparently unrelated sequence. Her soundscapes communicate an impression of one searching but never finding, improvising endlessly without discovering any satisfying and usable material; her work feels like the quiet frustrations of one wanting to compose.”
SUBTERFUGE IN VITRO
from BERGENS TIDENDE Olav Gorseth
Engaging and groundbreaking mix of styles.
from ÅSANE TIDENDE Magne Fonn Hafskor
“The tabla-dominated record Subterfuge Invitro is a collaboration with the indian Kuljit Bhamra. The two musicians here once and for all puts Kipling’s words to shame. East can meet west, especially when the music is as beautiful, summer cool and ethereal as it is here. And how she can sing! A very loose, noisy and rhythm-heavy interpretation of Gershwin’s Summertime feels like a pure bonus, even if it plays the heads off Coco Rosie and Björk in its inventiveness. Pritchard’s music is playful, touching and mystical at the same time, and gives the listener the same feeling of time- and weightlessness as the tones from the bamboo-flute of the late japanese master, Watazumido-Shuso. In addition, you can dance to it.”