Bridge Ensemble

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Saturday 4 November 2023, 8.00pm

£10 UC, PIP & DLA
£5 Students & Under 35s

Past Event

THEA MUSGRAVE Niobe for oboe and tape
DAI FUJIKURA Cosmic Breath (11′)
WISSAM BOUSTANY And the Wind Whispered for flute (6′)
VALERIE COLEMAN Red Clay & Mississipi Delta (6′)
ARTURO MARQUEZ Danza de Mediodia (10′)
OLA AKINDIPE Èkó Scenes (10′) – World Premiere

At the end of their first year working together with Music in the Round through our Bridge scheme supporting promising young musicians, this formidable quintet presents a programme of new music for flute, clarinet, oboe, horn and bassoon.  Opening with Thea Musgrave’s haunting work for solo oboe and pre-recorded electronics, including Èkó Scenes a brand new Afrobeat-inspired work by the group’s clarinettist Ọlá Akindipe and concluding with US composer Valerie Coleman’s fusion of what she calls ‘blues dialect and charm of the south’, this is an accessible and eclectic tour through a world of music from composers too often unrepresented on the concert stage.


MUSGRAVE Thea, Niobe

Niobe, written in July and November 1987, was commissioned by the Park Lane Group for Ian Hardwick. The Tape was made in the Chiens Interdits Studios in New York; recording engineer, Jonathan Mann.

In Greek mythology, Niobe was the daughter of Tantalus and wife of Amphion, King of Thebes. She unwisely boasted to Leto about her many sons and daughters. Leto, who only had two children, Apollo and Artemis, was angered.

As punishment Apollo slew all of Niobe’s sons and Artemis all her daughters.

Out of pity for Niobe’s inconsolable grief, the Gods changed her into a rock, in which form she continued to weep.

In this short work for solo oboe and Tape, the solo oboe takes the part of Niobe bitterly lamenting her murdered children. The tape with the distant high voices and the slow tolling bells, and later gong, is intended to provide an evocative and descriptive accompaniment.

Thea Musgrave ©

BOUSTANY Wissam, …And the Wind Whispered…

As flute players, our creative life is forever bound in the air we breathe and blow – this wonderful invisible resource that is the foundation of our Art. I first performed …And The Wind Whispered… in Botswana and Zimbabwe in February 2009, but it took until 2011 before it was written down. Taking its inspiration from the wind, …And The Wind Whispered… seeks to make a statement about our fractured world… I have always been very weary of organized nationalism, religion and politics because they fragment and diminish our Humanity. At one point in my piece, the flute player says “and the wind never shows its passport, when it crosses the border.” Sit back and let the wind take you on a journey of its own choosing. This piece carries a wish with it – that humanity can one day rid itself from its self-imposed spiritual prisons.

© Wissam Boustany

COLEMAN Valerie, Red Clay & Mississipi Delta

Red Clay is short work that combines the traditional idea of musical scherzo with living in the South. It references the background of my mother’s side of the family that hails from the Mississippi delta region. From the juke joints and casino boats that line the Mississippi river, to the skin tone of kinfolk in the area: a dark skin that looks like it came directly from the red clay. The solo lines are instilled with personality, meant to capture the listener’s attention as they wail with “bluesy” riffs that are accompanied (‘comped’) by the rest of the ensemble. The result is a virtuosic chamber work that merges classical technique and orchestration with the blues dialect and charm of the south.

© Valerie Coleman