Among the many impressive statistics arising out of the International Double Reed Society 2009 conference currently being held at Birmingham Conservatoire, with its 1000-plus attendees, is the fact that no fewer than 41 world premieres are being performed during this week-long event.
Five of them were given in a rich diet of oboe and bassoon music on Wednesday, Birmingham Town Hall packed with a veritable United Nations of listeners as well as performers too numerous to mention.
Ben Tausman’s Cleaving Time for oboe and narrator was a decoration of a poem by TM Derrickson based on the Persephone legend.
Tisarana by Isao Matshushita for oboe, followed by the closely argued musical fabric of Laurent Riou’s Sonatine for Oboe and Piano, and the second performance after its Tuesday premiere of Judith Bingham’s Billingbear for solo cor anglais. The only other non-premiere was Efrem Podgaits’ Strange Dance for bassoon and four-handed piano.
Judith Weir was present for her Conservatoire commission Wake Your Wild Voice for rhapsodising bassoon and drone-like supporting cello (a medieval effect), an enthralling piece which does exactly what it says on the tin.
And concluding a lengthy evening was Night Windows by Thea Musgrave.