Sound Sculpture: The Singing Ringing Tree
This wind-powered sound sculpture is set in the landscape of the Pennine hills overlooking Burnley in Lancashire. Pick a windy day to visit and you will be greeted by its alien, mysterious song as you approach. The three-meter high structure was designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu. Some of the pipes have been cut across their width enabling the sound. The harmonic and singing qualities of the tree were produced by tuning the pipes according to their length by adding holes to the underside of each.
Acrylic on canvas: Listening to Piano Concerto, opus 42 of Arnold Schoenberg, by Wolfgang Schweizer
Part of a series by the artist, this one made in 2008, these paintings are brilliant abstract representations of colourful, angular, sometimes dark sometimes swirling music.
CD: Ross Harris, Symphony No. 4; Cello Concerto, Naxos
This is a 'find'. The symphony is a luxurious piece of contemporary music, mainly gently atmospheric, punctuated with expressive percussion. It is New Zealander Ross Harris's tribute to poet/songwriter Mahinarang Tocker and features a solo viola voice. Instantly enjoyable and with a depth that suggests many plays to come. The cello concerto is more than a bonus on this recording.
CD: Howard Skempton, 'Ben Somewhen', Choral and Chamber Music, con. James Weeks, NMC Recordings
Howard Skempton is well and living in Leamington Spa. You can hear a podcast by him from his creative space there. This collection is a wonderful snapshot of his work after a long progression from early years, through the Scratch Orchestra to now. The music emerges from silence, is beautifully crafted, elegant, witty and characterised by his mastery of the miniature. Features the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and EXAUDI.
CD: Jonathan Harvey: Body Mandala; Timepieces; Tranquil Abiding; White as Jasmine; Towards a Pure Land, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, NMC
Harvey (1939-2012) is one of the UK's top contemporary composers and this collection reveals why. Don't be tempted to listen to the whole thing in one go, but get to know and savour each piece independently. There is a huge range of orchestral timbres and effects here creating a corporeal sound world.
CD: Wind Band Classics: Philip Glass, Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra; Mohammed Fairouz, Symphony No.4, "In the Shadow of No Towers". Naxos
The Glass work is Glass being playful with his music and the tymps. It's a great 'listen', leaving you feeling good about the world. The Fairouz is deeper and contrasting. Inspired by terrorist war cartoonist, Art Spiegelman, he (Spiegelman) describes it as a "very tony piece of high-brow cartoon music." I hear what he means. Check it out.