Ostrava Days, for those not in the know, is quoted as being “…a platform for making the music of our time…. No attention was paid to what the powerful cultural institutions expected or supported”.
In the world of composition, there’s a constant struggle to stage “new” works — where new often means anything written in the last fifty years — so the fact we have a composer (Petr Bakla) who was a spritely thirty-nine at the time his piece There Is An Island Above The City was performed is pretty substantial. Compare that to the UK’s Proms, where there are a smattering of commissions and a broad avoidance of much past the 1950s is inevitable. Important stuff.
Also important is that, as a double CD, this is giving space to “name” composers — insofar as Iannis Xenakis, Christian Wolff and Frederic Rzewski are name composers who still aren’t well-known outside of avant-leaning circles — as well as names that are new on me (I’m by no means an expert, but I do know composition is a slow world for old white men).
So for a conclusion then — this is a lovely collection, one that deserves to be more widely listened to and, for my money, a fairly golden example of how much talent and invention there is within contemporary composition.
Kev Nickells, FREQ / read the whole review here >>>