Posted on 17 January 2019
Thomas Simaku’s recent work, La Leggiadra Luna for mixed choir a cappella, has been selected by the international jury for performance at the 2019 ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) – World Music Days, which takes place in Estonia from 2 to 10 May 2019.
Founded in 1922, the ISCM Festival is the oldest forum of new music in the world, which takes place every year in a different country. Since the 1995 festival in Germany, Simaku’s works have been selected by international juries in ten editions of this prestigious festival. These include his Radius – String Quartet No 2 performed by the Arditti Quartet at the 2004 festival in Switzerland; Reflexions de la Croix III by Musikfabrik at 2006 in Stuttgart, and his BASCA award-winning work, Soliloquy V – Flauto Acerbo, described by the judging panel as ‘visionary and entirely original’, performed at the 2012 festival in Belgium.
In the 2019 edition Simaku’s work will be performed by a Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, conducted by Kaspars Putniņš – Artistic Director and Chief Conductor. The piece received its world premiere at Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall on 30 May 2018 in celebration of the composer’s 60th Birthday. It was performed by the University of York vocal ensemble The 24, conducted by Robert Hollingworth.
Thomas Simaku has written the following notes about this work:
“Taken from the volume ‘Lirici Greci’, Plenilunio (Full Moon) is the Italian version of the poem by the Greek poetess Sappho translated by the Nobel prize-winning Sicilian poet Salvatore Quasimodo. The music begins with a song-like expression introduced at a slow pace, as if emerging from the remoteness of time itself. A variety of short segments, predominantly modal, but stemming from different chromatic ‘locations’, are often superimposed. The task of filtering out this 'amorphous' texture and giving its constituent elements - be they melodic or harmonic, or a combination of both - a renewed identity, becomes an essential compositional aim, through which the process of crystallisation occurs. The piece is dedicated to Robin Boyle on his 80th Birthday, in gratitude for his unwavering support, which has meant so much to me!”