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‘Bandstand’ by Freya Waley-Cohen

For our upcoming tour (13-16 April) we commissioned a piece by Freya Waley-Cohen, one of Nonclassical’s Associate Composers. Freya told us a bit about composing for us and her new work Bandstand

“The Street Orchestra of London is a special and unusual orchestra: they play for an audience who have congregated in front of them because they heard something that made them stop and listen.

 Knowing I was writing for SOL, I decided to write a piece that allows for different performance options, leaving some decisions up to the intuition of the conductor and the performers themselves. The orchestra have the choice to open the piece with the wind section of the orchestra hidden amongst the audience, enveloping them with swirling interwoven melodic lines. This movement is echoed at the end when the violins all disappear off into the audience again, drifting away from the orchestra.

The title Bandstand originates from the memory of a rehearsal break last summer at Aldeburgh. A particular moment struck me as I wandered onto the beach for a sunny lunch break: Kit Downes and Tom Challenger were on the bandstand playing beautiful and unusual music for hand organ and saxophone (see the video below). The combination of relaxed passersby coming to sit and watch, children gazing on nearby and the sea and seagulls adding a natural backdrop gave the scene that particular type of time-warped nostalgia that sometimes hits at the beginning of summer. The texture that opens the piece comes directly out of that moment.”

Freya’s music has been performed in the Sage Gateshead, St John’s Smith Square, The British Film Institute, The National Portrait Gallery, The National Maritime Museum, Kew Royal Botanical Gardens and at Aldeburgh, Tanglewood, Dartington, Cheltenham, Ryedale and Spitalfields festivals.

Make sure you come along to hear Bandstand performed by SOL April 13-16 in London and Brighton! 

#kitdownes & #tomchallenger – bandstand @aldeburghmusic festival 🐚🎈

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