Classical music

Pieces About Art

Part of New Music Biennial

Hear a new work from Laurence Crane, who teaches composition at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. The piece explores boundaries between music and texts, composers and artists.

Crane was commissioned by EXAUDI vocal ensemble in 2014 to write a new work for them. Initially he wanted to use words that had been engraved on a metal sculpture by a famous American artist, but Crane was denied permission to use the text.

He decided instead to write a text based on the email denying him permission, while concealing the artist’s name from the score. What you hear in the first of the piece’s two movements is an evocation of a composer’s struggle to get permission to set a text. There are sections of wordless music, perhaps suggesting that – had permission been granted – they are where the artist’s words might have gone.

For the second movement, Crane was finally successful in obtaining permission to use a text. This movement is a setting of passages from Michael Bracewell's essay on the British artist John Stezaker.

Presented in association with the PRS Foundation


Royal Festival Hall


Free, but ticketed

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