I was at the QEH last night for the London première of Richard Barrett’s Mesopotamia; I may have more to say on this in the next day or two. In the meantime, my article on the piece has just this morning been published in INTO, the magazine of Sound and Music:
In March 2003, as a US-led coalition embarked on the invasion of Iraq, Richard Barrett was beginning work on a new orchestral score for the BBC Symphony Orchestra. As the humanitarian and cultural crimes of the Iraq war sank in, the piece gained an emphatic title – NO – and became the first in a projected eight-part series of works entitled resistance and vision. ‘I started to think that the way I had been conceiving the relationship between music and ideas had to make some radical change’, he said then, in an interview with Tom Service. ‘How is an artist like me, who is committed to socialist ideas, to respond to this situation?’ Barrett’s new work, Mesopotamia, written for the London Sinfonietta and first performed by them at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival on 28th November, and subsequently at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 3rd December, is the latest completed installment of resistance and vision (a third part, Nacht und Träume, for cello, piano and electronics, was first performed in Huddersfield last year).
Continue reading here.
Thanks to Richard for his help with this piece.