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Composer: Clarke, James (b. 1957)

Fact file
Year of birth1957
NationalityUnited Kingdom
Period20th century
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Eight extraordinary string players meet: The Arditti and JACK Quartets combine at Wigmore Hall

JACK Quartet  ©  Stephen Poff
The volume was that of a string quartet on steroids, but the sound was that of eight extraordinary string players each playing slightly different things. James Clarke’s 2012-S, for two string quartets, gave an explosive, subtle start to the Arditti and JACK Quartets’ joint Wigmore Hall recital this Monday.
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The Arditti Quartet play new music at the Wigmore Hall

Arditti Quartet  ©  Astrid Karger
As a non-composer, I always find it a little disconcerting when composers completely disagree with me about new music. And when I talk to two composers separately, and they offer matching opinions opposed to my own – as happened last night at the Wigmore Hall – I definitely end up feeling slightly wrong-footed.
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An Heroic Effort

©  Lara Platman
Perhaps visions of the royal princes in battle dress influenced last night’s programme. Or perhaps it was merely felt that Beethoven’s Eroica symphony requires a suitably epic companion. Either way, the result was a rare performance of Britten’s enormous Battle of Heroes, written to honour the members of the International Brigade who died in the Spanish Civil war.