New information about Thom and Jonny’s Ether Festival performance.

by Dylan on February 19, 2005

At Ease scored some more information about Jonny and Thom’s upcoming performance at the Ether Festival, courtesey of the South Bank Festival Hall Magazine.
Right at the core of Ether are the collaborations between the London Sinfonietta, the UK’s prime contemporary chamber orchestra, and electronic musicians from the underbelly of pop. This time Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is the main collaborator. Jonny has recently demonstrated his compositional chops by penning a soundtrack for the film Bodysong, which steers a path between romantic minimalism, free jazz and electronic soundscapes. Here he will present Smear, a piece originally composed for the Sinfonietta as part of last year’s Fuse festival in Leeds, along with new arrangements of Radiohead songs.
Middle Eastern music has had an enormous impact on Jonny, as is clear from the twisting harmonic structures of Radiohead; intriguingly he has also invited the Nazareth Orchestra, which is formed from Arab and Israeli musicians, to participate in the event. They will perform compositions associated with the singer Oum Kolthoum, who was known as the almost mythical voice of the Arab world of the 1930s and ’40s.
A key idea behind these collaborations with the Sinfonietta is the insertion into the programme of relevant classics from the 20th century classical repertoire. Past events have included works by Cage, Nancarrow, Stockhausen, Antheil and Ligeti, and the juxtaposition of genres has worked brilliantly, forging new alliances and drawing out the connections between the two worlds. The audience response to these innovations has been ecstatic, and this year’s collaboration has had to anticipate demand by occupying two nights. It will feature works by Messiaen, Ligeti and Penderecki, extending a line of thought right back to the heart of the last century. The Messiaen work will be a performance of a movement from his Quartet for the End Of Time, in an arrangement for six ondes martenots.”



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