November 2000 heralds a new stage for Music on the Web with its association with Vavo.com, which it is anticipated will bring in new readers. Seen & Heard, its live music section, was launched in August 1999 with a core team based in London [see our mission statement About Seen&Heard]. Since then, it has expanded in its scope, with more than a dozen contributors (some of them have only been able to review for us occasionally) with concentration upon innovative events, many of non-Western music, and some of which are less likely to be covered in paper publications or other music websites.
Developing the "Seen" component of our title, we have been to operas and music-theatre in UK and abroad, reviewed films with live music and exhibitions with musical associations. Musical events visited by our reviewers have gone far outside the original Classical Music denomination of the parent website and we are beginning to dip our toes into - and risk our hearing in - the (for some of us) esoteric worlds of electronics and cutting edge improvised jazz.
Our reports from Music Festivals in Europe and USA have attracted especial interest and a gratifying postbag. In Amsterdam [International Gaudeamus Music Week September 2000] and the ISCM World Music Days October 2000 in Luxembourg it was gratifying to learn that all the performers and composers, young or old, were actively involved with the internet as a key mode of communication, and very anxious to discuss the contribution of S&H. This is not always the case yet in UK. It gives me pleasure to quote from a few of those responses:
- - May I compliment you on your excellent coverage of your visit to Helsinki and Porvoo. You provide superb insight in the music you heard and the places you visited. I fully agree with you that Porvoo is not really a venue for an overseas visitor because of the distance (too far away to be close and too close to be far away!) but hopefully the organisers can come up with joint travel arrangements in the future. Because I think that the Porvoo festival is innovative and very appealing and you have contributed so well in making it known to an even larger audience. - - -
I have also greatly enjoyed the contents of the MusicWeb website. What a wealth of information and what a pleasure to read! It will be high on my list of sites for regular browsing! (Finnish concertgoer)
- - - It was a great pleasure reading through u'r report on the (World Music Days) festival. For me, it was like a souvenir from the concerts I had attended and a nice informative 'filler-in' on the concerts I had not been able to attend. It's a shame u missed the BBC Symph. I have been told it was the highlight of the whole festival and a marvellous way to end the festival.
I have sent a letter about S & H to quite a few of my colleagues in Israel and abroad, so I think u can expect lots of 'hits' to u'r web site. If each one of these musicians, impresarios etc., does the same with the people they know, I hope before long your site will be flooded !! Keep up the good work !! I strongly believe in u'r kind of site as the future of music criticism. Quite paradoxically, something which was born out of necessity and a 'no other choice' situation, has the promise of becoming a much better, sought after media for 'spreading the word' throughout the global village.
The Web site IS actually a marvellous idea, put to practice with a lot of good will and obviously tons of remarkable effort. I think the texts are exceptionally good, and reading through some of the write-ups leaves me envious and jealous that we do not have this kind of REAL music criticism. Ours are always nasty and show no understanding of what they are writing about. What's good in their eyes is usually utter KITSCH. To get back to the point, I think there's no problem with u'r content. It's rather good, and leaves an online record of the performance after the latter's last few notes have fizzled into thin nothingness. By this I mean that it is extremely important as a source of reference for past performances, for artist's achievements or failure and for tracking first performances of new works. (Israeli composer)
- - It was very nice to read your review about the World Music Days in Luxembourg - - - Vania Lecuit, who played my piece "Soliloquy" will be thrilled to read it - - she certainly deserves to be heard more outside Luxembourg (Albanian composer)
- - I have the biggest pleasure to read your wonderful review (Musica2000 Strasbourg S&H October) - - I haven't words! - - - you have understand all the soul of each different piece and especially for Sciarrino, who needs to have together flute and percussion, in one only soul. I love so much Salvatore's music. - - I will talk with him and with other composers about your review: you know, your feeling in Ferneyhough's piece it's exactly what he needs to obtain!!!!!!!!! I'd like so much to come play in London, but I don't know anybody, and your review for me should be precious in this sense: my name became to turn in UK. - - -
About my CDlabel ("Svana"), it's an youngest italian CD label in Italy, but they are born with very intelligent proposals and projects. My solo CD is its FIRST CD!!!! [This will be reviewed when released shortly] You can visit their just begun homepage (italian or english) at following address: www.svana.com I will suggest to many composers and friends go to see your homepage - - - I am proud to know a deep man like you. Thank you very much again, and keep surely in touch. (Italian flautist)
- - - - It was very nice to talk at Strasbourg (Musica2000 Strasbourg S&H October). It's very good that you are covering so many of the important European festivals for S&H. So little is known about the huge world of new music going on outside Britain, and the hosts of really important composers (in my opinion!) that are only occasionally given an airing in British concert,halls; I might name Aperghis, Bussotti, Castiglioni, Cerha, Clementi, de Pablo, Dusapin, Furrer, Grisey, Guerrero, Hosokawa, Huber, Jarrell, Kagel, Lachenmann, Pangh-Pan, Radulescu, Rihm, Schnebel, Sciarrino, Sorenson, Spahlinger, Stroppa, Tanguy, Zimmermann, and many, many more, not to mention our very own Barrett, Dillon, Ferneyhough, Saunders.
Happily, as more and more new music gets recorded, I'm encountering many more younger people who are getting a broader perspective on the music being composed today than would be possible from an average visit to London new-music concerts. I would certainly be interested in contributing to Music on the Web. - - I have many ideas for articles on various subjects (to do with old as well as new music) - - As I say, the website is something I look at almost every day. - - I like to see the writing and playing (and lecturing, teaching, ensemble direction) as complementary, but there are obviously times when the relatively small and close-knit community of the new-music business causes the wearing of different hats to be problematic! All that said, I would very much like to contribute the occasional piece. (British pianist; international new music specialist)
We returned from the festivals in Holland and Luxembourg with a selection of CDs by Dutch and Luxembourg composers, some of which will be reviewed as time allows.
Feed-back from UK readers of S&H has been sparse.
For the next phase of development, we need to know from you who you are, what you read on line, what you find interesting? Do you find navigating the site, and its links, satisfactory? Do you want to read more about main-stream composers and concerts, or is the balance of our selection about right? Do you support our campaigning for the provision of texts for vocal music (including surtitles, even for Opera in English) and against distorting (and often unnecessary) amplification? Are our reviews helpful professionally to struggling newcomers? It is not always easy for young and as yet unknown performers to have their appearances covered by the major Dailies & Weeklies.
We need additional reviewers and would like to cover selectively important and innovative events elsewhere, e.g. Birmingham! (Our editorial capacity is, however, very limited and to use our time optimally we need literate, informed reviews, presented so far as possible in ready-formatted S&H house-style, for easy and prompt posting on line.)
Peter Grahame Woolf
Correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org
Seen&Heard is part of Music on the Web(UK) Webmaster: Len Mullenger Len@musicweb-international.com
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