Michael Blake



Michael Blake was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1951. He studied at the South African College of Music in Cape Town, the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (Bachelor of Music degree) and University of London Goldsmiths College (Master of Music degree). In 2000 he was awarded a doctorate by Rhodes University in South Africa. From 1977 to 1997 he was based in London as composer, pianist and teacher. He formed London New Music in 1986 and was the groupís pianist and conductor for ten years, giving many concerts and broadcasts in the UK and Europe. He performs throughout the world as a soloist and in a number of duos, playing new music. He has lectured at amongst others, Goldsmiths College (London), Rhodes University (Grahamstown) and the Janacek Academy (Brno). He is Artistic Director of New Music Indaba, South Africaís only new music festival, and President of the South African Section of the ISCM.


Symbols and Abbreviations
Instrumentations are shown numerically in the standard orchestral order of woodwind-brass-timpani.percussion-harp-other instruments-strings (all five parts unless otherwise specified). Additional instruments or doublings are shown by their appropriate abbreviations within this framework, where + means ‘doubling’ and opt. means ‘optional’. A zero (0) indicates than an instrument is not scored.

Thus:

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2(2+picc).2.ca.2(2+bcl).2.cbn-4.3.3(1opt).1-timp.2perc-hp-pno(+hpsch)-str

indicates an orchestra of

2 flutes(2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, double bassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones (1 of which is optional), tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), harp, piano(doubling harpsichord) and strings

* = performance material available on hire (rental)

The specifications in this listing were accurate at the time it was created


Orchestral Music

*Kwela (1992; rev. 1996)
for elastic scoring

*Out of the Darkness (1993-94)
for piano and small orchestra
2(2+picc).1.2(1+Eb.2+bcl).1-2.0.0.0-perc(1)-hp-str(0.0.0.2.1)
10 minutes
lst performance: St Luke‘s Brighton, 16 July, 1994, Sally Rose (piano), Members of the Brighton Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Guy Richardson

Chamber Music

*Self Delectative Songs (1986)
First version: cl(+bcl).tpt(+flhn).vc.pno.mba(+vib)
Second version: string quartet and piano
12 minutes
lst performance (First version): Purcell Room, London, 26 April, 1986, Metanoia

“Michael Blake’s Self Delectative Songs fell gently and pleasingly on the ear.”  (Malcolm Hayes, The Times)

*Cum martelli incrudena (1987)
after 13th century anonymous
for elastic scoring (2cl or tpt.gtr or hps or pno.vib or mar or glock.vn or va.vc)
2 minutes
lst performance: Purcell Room,London, 3 May, 1989, London New Music

*The Seasons (1987-88)
1. Winter; 2. Spring; 3. Summer; 4. Autumn
for 2cl(+bcl).gt.perc(1).vn.vc
20 minutes
lst performance: Purcell Room, London, 29 February, 1988, London New Music First broadcast (Spring only): Capitol Radio, London, 7 March, 1988

“Michael Blake’s divertimento on African traditional music, The Seasons, made an unpretentious and brightly-heard finish to the evening.” (Bayan Northcott, The Independent)

Quartet for Flute and Strings (1989)
Transcription of Honey Gathering Song for flute and string trio
5 minutes
Score BD 0756; Parts BD 0756/1 in preparation

Quintet for Basset Clarinet (or Clarinet) in A and String Quartet (1990)
for classical or modern instruments
basset cl (cl in A ad lib).2vn.va.vc
12 minutes
commissioned by Yorkshire Arts for Lesley Schatzberger and the Fitzwilliam Quartet
Score BD 0605; Parts BD 0605/1
lst performance: University of York, 7 March, 1991, Lesley Schatzberger and the Fitzwilliam Quartet

“It was an easy-going piece, based largely on African musical sources, its minimalist gestures reminding me strongly of the Stravinsky of around 1914.”   (David Mather, Yorkshire Evening Press)

String Quartet No.1 (1991)
Transcription of Let us run out of the rain
10 minutes
Score BD 0796; Parts BD 0797/1 in preparation

Mysteries (1993-96)
for four percussionists
8 minutes
Playing score BD 0795 in preparation

Let us run out of the rain (1995)
for vibraphone and marimba, 4 players
10 minutes
Playing score BD 0318 (2 copies included)
1st performance: The King’s School, Canterbury, 1 March, 1996, Ensemble Bash

Carpet of Memory (1994; 1996; 1998)
for voice-flute, bass viol and harpsichord
11 minutes
commissioned by the Arts Council of England for Trio Basiliensis
Score BD 0797; Parts BD 0797/1 in prepartion

38a Hill Street Blues (2000)
for pan remix (tenor, double tenor, double second, cellos, bass, rattles, congas and bass drum)
4 minutes
Score BD 0807; Parts BD 0807/1 in preparation

(Lower) String Quartet and Electric Guitar (2000)
for electric guitar, viola, viola da gamba, cello and double bass
6 minutes
Score BD 0806 in preparation; Parts BD 0806/1 in preparation
lst performance: Evenings of New Music, Bratislava, 9 June, 2000, Musica Aeterna

Instrumental Music

Spirit (1985)
for flute solo
3 minutes
Score BD0206
lst performance: Festival of the Spirit, London, May 1985, Tessa Swade

Honey Gathering Song (1989)
for flute and piano
5 minutes
Score and instrumental part BD 0554
lst performance: Arts Educational Schools, London, 15 March, 1989, Tessa Swade (flute) and Michael Blake (piano) (as music for the dance For the Off by Gill Clarke)

Hindewhu (1989-90)
for two classical or modern clarinets in Bb or soprano saxophones
6 minutes
Score BD 0322 in preparation
1st performance: Purcell Room, London, 20 April, 1990, Lesley Schatzberger and Sharon Lyons (classical clarinets)

“Michael Blake's tight minimalist duet Hindewhu exploited the fruity resonance of the early nineteaul Simmonds

“...a short piece with aspirations of epic. It starts out as an engaging pastiche-cum-homage to the giants born in 1685 but then develops into less tonally certain areas.”  (Guy Rickards, Tempo)

Cadenzas for Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor K466 (1994)
lst performance: St Luke’s Brighton, 16 July, 1994 , Sally Rose

French Suite (1994)
for piano
First Dance - 7 minutes
Second Dance - 4 minutes
lst performance St Luke’s Concerts, Brighton, 26 November, 1994, Sally Rose
1st broadcast: Super Channel, April 1996, Sally Rose
Recording: British Library National Sound Archive

a toy (1995)
for piano
3 minutes
1st performance: Evenings

Let us run out of the rain (1986; rev.1993)
for two to play at one piano or harpsichord
10 minutes
Score BD 0549
1st performance: BMIC, London, 23 June, 1986, Roy Stratford and Michael Blake lst performance (revised version): Evenings of New Music, Bratislava, 17 June, 1993, Sally Rose and Michael Blake
Recording: Slovak Radio

“Michael Blake's composition Let us run out of the rain persists in the memory, captivating above all with its playfulness and simplicity, with the infusion of a poetic sense characterized by clarity of ideas and delight in the creation of music.” (Igor Berger, Musical Life, Bratislava)

Thirteen Inventions (1988)
for two pianos
6 minutes
Score BD 0550 in preparation
lst performance: Arts Educational Schools, London, June 1988, Joseph Misquita and Michael Blake (as music for the dance Pythagoras Redoubled by Mark Lintern Harris)

Hommage ?MDCLXXXV (1985; rev.1994)
for harpsichord (in meantone tuning ad lib)
7 minutes
Facsimile Score BD 0551
lst performance: Brighton Festival, 11 May, 1994, Paul Simmonds

“...a short piece with aspirations of epic. It starts out as an engaging pastiche-cum-homage to the giants born in 1685 but then develops into less tonally certain areas.”  (Guy Rickards, Tempo)

Cadenzas for Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor K466 (1994)
lst performance: St Luke’s Brighton, 16 July, 1994 , Sally Rose

French Suite (1994)
for piano
First Dance - 7 minutes
Second Dance - 4 minutes
lst performance St Luke’s Concerts, Brighton, 26 November, 1994, Sally Rose
1st broadcast: Super Channel, April 1996, Sally Rose
Recording: British Library National Sound Archive

a toy (1995)
for piano
3 minutes
1st performance: Evenings of New Music, Bratislava, 11 June, 1995, John Tilbury

Reverie (1995-96)
for two pianos
9.5 minutes
Score BD 0691
1st performance: ICA London, 31 March, 1996, Sally Rose and Tony Gray

San Polyphony (1998; rev. 1999)
for organ
20 minutes
commissioned by the National Arts Council
Score BD 0802 in preparation

more toys (nos. 1 & 2) (1997)
for piano
3 minutes each
Score BD 0803 in prepartion

38a Hill Street Blues (2000)
for piano
4 minutes
1st performance: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 25 March, 2000, Marcel Worms

BVW Fragments
for piano
X minutes
Score BD 0804 in preparation

Nightsongs
for piano
X minutes
Score BD 0805 in preparation

Choral Music

Beamish Grace (1988; rev.1989)
SAB a cappella
Text: Latin
2 minutes
Score BD 0800 in preparation
lst performance: Beamish Hall, Durham, 24 July, 1988, Choir of the University of Durham Weekend Course for Singers, conducted by Murray Brown

Five Traditional Animal Poems of the Khoikhoi (1992)
SATB a cappella
Text: Traditional translated by W H I Bleek
5 minutes
Score BD 0552 in preparation
lst performance: St Augustine’s Church, Brighton, 11 July, 1992, Brighton Chamber Choir, conducted by Guy Richardson

Carol of the Three Outas (1993)
Soprano solo and SSA a cappella
Text: D J Opperman translated by Anthony Delius
1'' minute
Score BD 0553

lst performance: St Luke’s Brighton, 11 December, 1993, Brighton Youth Choir

The Ballad of Poui (1994)
Cantata for soloists, SSAA and two percussionists
Text: Bridget Crowley
35 minutes
Score BD 0801 in preparation
lst performance (excerpts): Brighton Festival, 22 May, 1994, Brighton Youth Choir

“...the five extracts performed giving only an impression of the charm to be expected from the whole.”  (Guy Rickards, Tempo)

Film Music

*Erotikon (Score for the 1929 silent film by Gustav Machaty)
for flute, bass clarinet, viola and piano
87 minutes
1st performance: National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa, 8 July, 2000, Michael Blake Ensemble


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