Graham Elliott from City & Cambridge Consultancy, our new Corporate Friend supporting Mark Simpson’s Debut Disc, shares his thoughts on the company’s involvement
It is a total delight, as Director of City & Cambridge Consultancy, to express my thoughts on the occasion of our sponsorship of Night Music, a Debut Disc of Mark Simpson’s music. And it is ‘his’ music in more ways than one, since he is a composer/player, who has rapidly established himself as a foremost composer and a foremost clarinettist, with little or nothing between them in fame and lustre. He contributes his playing to part of the release, but most of it is entrusted to other interpreters.
City & Cambridge Consultancy has become a Corporate Friend in order to support the creativity of our most talented contemporary composers, because composition is where it starts, and performance is where it ends (and venues are simply that – locations to perform). So, why do performances and venues readily command philanthropic support, but the creative starting point is less well supported? Perhaps because it is not so readily visible. NMC makes these composers visible, and that helps them to trust their own creative processes.
But what is creativity? In my world, of professional services, it consists in seeing connections between ideas, and of breaking through hackneyed ways of viewing things (and arguably a creative approach to clear articulation of the ideas). Anything more ‘creative’ is usually frowned upon (with good reason). That finds an analogy in the creativity of a mind such as Simpson’s, but does not go as far as he does. Listening to his album one is struck by the creativity of musical argument and structure (track 1 Night Music), and of the combinations that create distinctive colour (track 2 Ariel), and creating completely new sound from a familiar instrument (track 4 Echoes and Embers). It takes some courage to tackle the solo instrument ‘format’ as he does, with such distinction, in track 6 Regalo, for solo cello, and track 7 Windflower, for solo oboe. In fact, the most striking thing about this release is variety. This composer does not stick just to what works – he pursues variety and contrast as specific objectives. There is nothing arid either. This is lush stuff with lashings of pathos.
Do I think any of these pieces will survive into the mainstream repertoire? I certainly think several deserve to, and as long as music of our era can attract audiences in general terms, I will stick my neck out and say I think these ones are going to flourish. But I urge you to buy the recording and taste this creativity for yourselves. Approach it with a mind open and free from preconception and I think you will love it.
And if you can support NMC (like City & Cambridge Consultancy has been pleased to do as a Corporate Friend) you add even more to what the charity gives towards this important creative process.
Finally, congratulations to Mark Simpson on a release that is well worthy of his talents, and to his musicians (of which he is one) who have realised it so convincingly. They truly play their hearts out.
With best wishes to all readers and listeners from City & Cambridge Consultancy: http://www.cityandcambridgeconsultancy.com/
Find out more about how to become an NMC Friend here.