Ensemble Musikfabrik: Saunders 1

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Ensemble Musikfabrik © Jonas Werner-Hohensee

Ensemble Musikfabrik: Saunders 1 at Huddersfield Town Hall, Huddersfield 16 November 2018 Tickets from £19 — Book now

British-born and Berlin-based composer Rebecca Saunders has been a regular fixture of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival for the last decade. Celebrated the world over, her music is characterised by violent contrasts. Isolated moments of concentrated musical eruptions emerge from latent silence, in a style that treats sound as a kind of sculptural material.

For this year’s hcmf//, the pioneering Ensemble Musikfabrik will be joined by renowned soprano Juliet Fraser and conductor Enno Poppe in a UK premiere of Saunders’ Yes. A meditation on the ambiguities of language and expression, the piece was inspired by Molly Bloom’s infamous time-warping stream-of-consciousness monologue that concludes James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses.

The 75-minute work utilises fragments of Joyce’s text in a way that captures the extraordinary energy of the monologue. The polyphony of ideas present in the narrative is matched by Saunders in an ever-changing collage of music and theatre. Leaving language lost to time, it will be breathtaking in a literal sense, with the ensemble responding to the inhales and exhales in Fraser’s vocal performance with fluid arrangements.

Ensemble Musikfabrik are no strangers to Saunders’ music. The Cologne-based ensemble have performed it all over the world in a variety of shapeshifting set-ups. They make a great match for the composer in that they are dedicated to artistic innovation. It’s for this reason that they held in such high-esteem by the contemporary music community. Taking place at Huddersfield Town Hall on the 16 November, their performance of Yes will open the festival, and promises to be one of its highlights.

Ensemble Musikfabrik: Saunders 1 at Huddersfield Town Hall, Huddersfield 16 November 2018 Tickets from £19 Book now

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