Deus ex machina

Deus ex machina

theatre music and a tribute to the century of cinema

Visions, illusions and inventions are conjured up in this concert of supernatural soundworlds including two premieres: Charlie Barber‘s clash of Greek tragedy with African ritual and Patrick Nunn‘s hommage to Jean Genet’s cinematic fantasy.

Memorials by Steve Martland and Robert Moran to British film and theatre directors are also included as well as Nicholas Wilson‘s music for Peter Greenaway’s television portrait of Charles Darwin, a recent commission from Andrew Poppy, and soundtracks by Erik Satie and Graham Fitkin to an imaginary silent film…

Music direction: Charlie Barber

Musicians: Simon Stewart (clarinet, saxophones), James Scannell (clarinet, saxophones), Alan MacDonald (trumpet), John Randall (trombone), David Appleton (piano), Tim Wright (percussion), Graham Bradley (percussion), Jeff Moore (violin), Tim Davies (violin), Rachel Stott (viola), Sharon McKinley (cello), Paula Gardiner (double bass, bass guitar)

Technical coordinator: Neil Marcus

Administration: David Sheppard


02.10.96MILFORD HAVENGo West Festival, Torch Theatre
15.10.96CARDIFFUniversity Concert Hall
17.10.96MANCHESTERRoyal Northern College of Music
19.10.96FROMEMerlin Theatre
23.10.96LONDONSouthbank Centre, Purcell Room

With the financial support of: Arts Council of Wales, Cardiff County Council, Foundation for Sport and the Arts, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Jazz Services, Musicians’ Union, Michael Tippett Foundation

Sponsorship provided by Barclays Bank


“The Band’s current style might be superficially aligned with that of Steve Martland Band or Icebreaker particularly with regard to the recent development in cross over between aspects of 80s system music with elements drawn from other genre. However, the Charlie Barber Band does have a profile of its own and, unlike other ensembles, attempts to give each of their programmes a thematic shape often with intriguing extra-musical relationships.

The latest programme, Deus ex Machina, links the 18th century concept of visions, illusions and inventions with illusory world of the cinema, The programme contained a minor classic, Satie’s Cinéma entr’acte symphonique se “Relache” with a new work by Patrick Nunn, Un Chant d’amour, based on the Genet film of the same name. His piece was impressively handled, balancing a world always poised on the edge of a delicate sentimentality, but weighted by a real sense of control and underlying toughness.

Some of the Band’s most impressive recent commissions, by Robert Moran and Andrew Poppy, were joined by Graham Fitkin’s Houah – a tour de force of control and energy, which, alongside some of his other pieces, must rank Fitkin among the most impressive composers of his generation.

Charlie Barber’s own music has recently been exploring a world balanced between 18th century gestures and his more recent concerns. The two pieces in the present concert demonstrate the usual elegant technique and ability to create fascinating and thrilling surfaces. Deus ex Machina and Re: Formation of Chaos also, however, seem to reach out to a larger concept. Whether this is what what is in the composer’s mid or not, it would be good to have a new large-scale work that has the necessary space to grow.” Peter Reynolds, Music Wales / Cerdd Cymru, December 1996




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