On 1 April Nicholas Collon conducted the BBC Philharmonic in the world premiere of Tom Coult’s Three Pieces that Disappear at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. It is his latest collaboration with the orchestra as composer-in-association. The 21-minute work was commissioned by BBC Radio 3. The three movements of this piece are linked by music that is remembered, forgotten, misremembered, imagined or deteriorating. The concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 11 April.
The final movement features a fixed audio element that is based on Schoenberg’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra (itself based on Handel’s Concerto Grosso Op.6 No.7). The recording is by the Janssen Symphony of Los Angeles, with the Manuel Compinsky Quartet, conducted by Werner Janssen, and released in 1951. As Coult says, “Most of the music, at least in some distant way, takes something I have written previously – often something that is itself based on something older still – and transforms it, misremembers it, sometimes beyond recognition.”
On 28 April the BBC Philharmonic give the world premiere of Coult’s After Lassus in a studio concert, to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at a later date. The 15½-minute work for soprano and orchestra features Anna Dennis as soloist and Andrew Gourlay conducting; Dennis previously premiered Coult’s song cycle Wholesome Counsels and originated the title role of debut chamber opera Violet in 2022. In the same concert Dennis performs Coult’s Beautiful Caged Thing, written for Claire Booth for the 2015 Aldeburgh Festival; the programme is further complemented by Coult’s 2018 arrangement of Robert Schumann for chamber orchestra Studies in Canonic Form.
Three Pieces that Disappear follows his 2020 violin concerto Pleasure Garden composed for Daniel Pioro and the BBC Philhamronic, which premiered in 2021 at Bridgewater Hall. Coult has also completed chamber orchestrations of works by Giuseppe Tartini, Arcangelo Corelli, and Henrich Ignaz von Biber (with Daniel Pioro) for the ensemble. In 2021 they also performed an orchestration of Coult’s Satie-inflected Gymnopédies for similar forces, five short pieces originally composed for pianist Rolf Hind. Before the beginning of their current partnership Coult composed 2015’s Sonnet Machine for the orchestra, whose premiere performance was conducted by Andrew Gourlay.