A Persian Cafe, Edward Lord Weeks

Monday, 18 November 2013

Romantic Things, Like Music and Art

On Friday, I finally (after more than a year of intending to do so) visited the Lowry Gallery in Salford. It was a fairly long walk, but it was definitely worth it. Salford Quays is a remarkably pleasant place in the sunshine. I got there around noon, had half of my lunch while checking on the current position in the World Chess Championship, and then started wandering around. The gallery itself is - well, not really small per se, but underwhelming as compared to the size of the building housing it. The artworks are an odd bunch - a mixture of urban landscapes, sketches of people, and a handful of miscellaneous other paintings and drawings. On the whole I enjoyed them. Oh, and I'm still a complete sucker for seascapes.

After that, I had a brief look round the Imperial War Museum North. Perhaps other people would find it interesting, but the museum only covers the 20th-21st Centuries and I studied quite enough of that in my History GCSE and A-level. Following this, I meandered around the Quays for a while, failed to find a bus that I was confident would take me to the city centre, caught a tram to Piccadilly Gardens instead, and got the bus back from there.

On Saturday evening, I went to a concert played by a string orchestra and a brass band at the university. It was an interesting assortment of pieces, none of which would have seen the light of day before 1900. Two of the pieces were premiers of pieces written by students of composition at the Uni, one of whom is a friend of mine - hence how I heard about the concert. I believe a recording of the piece should be appearing online at some point, most likely on YouTube, but it isn't there yet. It was a very intense piece entitled Starmaker Ceremonial and was inspired by the passage in Job when God speaks to Job:

31 “Can you bind the chains[b] of the Pleiades?
    Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
    or lead out the Bear[d] with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you set up God’s[e] dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
    and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
    Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

The strange electronic sound, if memory serves, had something to do with a recording of the sound made by a star. I enjoyed it rather a lot, but it's not the kind of music I'd want to have on in the background. It's very much concert music which demands your attention, as opposed to easy listening or jazz which can easily be listened to while concentrating on something else.

UPDATE: a recording of the piece is now available here. Also, I originally forgot to give this post a title, so it now has one.

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