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Treblos Wind Quintet

Treblos Wind Quintet

Three Hastings Composers showcase their work

This Friday, there will be an exciting opportunity to hear the work of three Hastings composers never before heard in their home town! Treblos Wind Quintet play works by Keith Beal, Jonathan Burton and Michael Short, along with pieces by Mozart and Bizet, writes Chris Cormack.

Keith Beal

On his fortieth birthday in 1973, Keith Beal acquired a saxophone, and won a bet that he could learn to play it within a year. In 1974, he co-founded Ogun Records, a record label specialising in jazz and modern classical music. and worked as a recording engineer, editor, but later became a producer and managing director. In his time at Ogun, Beal recorded and/or produced some 50 records by such artists as Trevor Watts, and Keith Tippett. Beal toured extensively with Trevor Watts Moiré Music, an avant garde jazz ensemble, playing at most of the European Jazz Festivals between 1982 and 1986.

Since 1987 Beal has divided his time between Hastings and Utrecht, focusing on jazz, both as a performer and composer, but increasingly moving towards modern classical composition. Early works include pieces for tuba quartet and saxophone quartet, but he became ever more confident and productive, writing 6 symphonies and 4 concertos, recording his Second Symphony in Kiev with the Kiev Modern Symphony Orchestra in 2001, and writing a clarinet concerto to be performed by Alan Hacker. He went on to compose two operas, the first of which, Dulcinea, was written on the 400th anniversary of the publication of Don Quixote by Cervantes, on which the libretto is based, and the second, Merlin,  with a libretto based on a compilation of Merlin and Nimue myths. He has also composed three ballets; the music for which has been played, but not yet danced.

Michael Short studied music at Morley College and London University and won a Mendelssohn Scholarship which enabled him to study composition in Italy with Goffredo Petrassi, and in London with Sir Lennox Berkeley. His compositions include a wide variety of music, ranging from works commissioned for eminent professional ensembles to pieces for amateurs, educational music and jazz scores. Many of his compositions have been broadcast on BBC network radio and have been performed in various countries throughout the world. He is a Fellow in composition of Trinity College of Music, London, and is a member of the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters.

Besides composition, he has made a special study of the life and music of Gustav Holst, producing a Centenary Documentation of Holst’s works,  organising and compiling the Holst Centenary Exhibition shown in London at the Royal Festival Hall. His comprehensive book Gustav Holst: the Man and his Music was published in 1990 by Oxford University Press. Other writings include Your Book of Music for children, journal articles, record and CD sleeve notes, and radio talks.

Jonathan Burton

Early on in Jonathan Burton’s  TV career, he was commissioned to do some large-scale arranging and orchestrating, and he was a keen composer as a student, studying with David Spence-Lyons and Richard Marlow,  when composition was an obligatory major part of the Cambridge Music Tripos. He also taught at Goldsmiths’ College in the 1980s and was associated with Professor Stanley Glasser while there.

Composition has largely taken a back seat during a busy career, mostly in opera (as librarian and surtitler) at Glyndebourne, English National Opera and Covent Garden – but he maintained a steady output of pieces for friends and special occasions, most recently Fanfarissima! for four bassoons for his niece’s wedding. Now ‘in retirement’, he intends to find more time for serious composition. Works in progress include a String Quartet entitled Pieces of String Too Short to Keep (But Too Long to Throw Away), and Quintetti Penquiti, a Decet for ‘one or two wind quintets, separately or together’.

The composers have common interests in wind instruments which makes a useful connection with the Treblos Wind Quintet. Michael Short’s A Little Light Music is, for example, a set of five pieces intended to provide interesting music for players of wind instruments and audiences to enjoy! The titles of the movements set the tone: Sauntering, Rush Hour, Schottische, The Broken Doll Dances and Helter-Skelter.

Keith Beal’s  Good Tijmes Wind Quintet No. 1 (“Tijmes” named after a  Dutch family who helped when he first settled in Utrecht)  follows one of his criteria of composition, namely that it should be a balance between the emotional and the intellectual.

Jonathan Burton’s  Five Movements for Wind Quintet is split in five distinctive parts, each with its own  momentum and pace. The harmonies and flowing textures of the opening Allegro animato reflect Burton’s early enthusiasm for the music of Michael Tippett. Next comes a wistful slow waltz, followed by a busy scherzo with a more reflective middle section. The slow fourth movement is constructed from arching melodic lines and intricate accompanying figures. Like any self-respecting student wind quintet, the work ends with an ambitious and energetic fugue.

Formed in 2007 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Treblos quintet has performed at London venues including the Barbican, Mansion House and the Guildhall, as well as in Austria, Hungary, Majorca, Ireland and Italy. Treblos has performed for both HRH the Duke of Kent and the Lord Mayor. The members of the ensemble have a keen interest in contemporary music and together have premièred works by young composers, as well as developing ideas and techniques with them in workshops.

This concert is generously supported by the R Vaughan Williams Trust.

Three Hastings Composers, Friday 7 November at 7.30 pm, St Clement’s Church, High Street, Old Town TN34 3ES  For more details or to reserve tickets,  call Keith on 01424 430040. Tickets £10 each (£8 concessions) also available at the door.


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Posted 13:20 Tuesday, Nov 4, 2014 In: Performance

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