Some irreverent Fitkin bits

There’s going to be quite a lot of Graham Fitkin in London this summer. Before two Proms performances (including his new cello concerto for Yo-Yo Ma) he has a new piece – K1, for keyboards, harp, bass and orchestra – being given at the Southbank on Thursday as part of a concert of electronica/minimalish music. (Also featured: Jarvis Cocker, Aphex Twin and Nico Muhly.) There’s an intriguing sample of K1 (that echoes both acid house and Herbie Hancock) on Fitkin’s informative (if quirkily organised) website.

That’s a plug, pure and simple, but it also allows me to link to the following Fitkin-related video, which is one of the oddest, most Web2.0 new music things I can recall finding.

As part of my write-up of new music for this year’s Proms, I was asked at short notice to write on Fitkin’s piece for cello and piano, L. Fitkin himself – who had been very helpful with regard to my enquiries on the cello concerto – was now on holiday an unable to help very much. I had a little bit of information; but without hearing the piece I didn’t have enough to fill the required 220 words.

So I turned, in hope more than expectation, to YouTube. And sure enough I found a video of Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott playing L. Not just that, but a video recorded in Sao Paolo of all places, recorded surreptitiously by someone hiding up in the rafters above the stage. (At one point I think they get discovered.) British postminimalism as contraband. Brazilian pirate, whoever you are, I thank you.

While I was researching those Proms blurbs, I also listened quite a bit to this curiously packaged Graham Fitkin album (also available on Spotify). Reading the personnel is a trip down a 1990s memory lane – Ensemble Bash! Piano Circus! It’s a bit like finding under the bed an old copy of the NME with Shaun Ryder on the cover.

Catherine Wheel! Daisy Chainsaw!

Still, some strong pieces on there that haven’t dated as badly as an acid hoody. And if any of that irreverence has whetted your appetite then I refer you once more to Electronica III at the QEH, next Thursday.


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