In 1968, Christian Wolff produced a score called Edges, which they named their ensemble after. And we are cutting edge! So they are.
Granted, Edges Ensemble at the University of Huddersfield, led by (He may deny the word – leading – to be used as to descrive whatever his role is. ) Phillip Thomas, is surely the best ensemble I have ever come across with. Not to mention that I have not been an active performer nor a composer in the field of performance in music, I am not even familiar with playing scores with ensembles in the past.
So how can I acclaim Edges Ensemble as the best?
Remember – let’s all work to invite new people, across all years and courses. Edges is not an exclusive group and operates under an open-to-all policy, so get talking to people!
This was a sentence from Philip on the email to whoever was on the mailing list of Edges in September 2012, informing of the first casual meeting in the new term at the University.
“establish a group capable of playing large pieces which aren’t performed a great deal nowadays… Their general brief is to workshop and perform pieces written by members of the group. ” (from University`s information)
It reveals that the ensemble is for everyone, from musicians to non-musicians, to perform mind-grabbing scores professionally. Performances are not for exercise purposes at workshops which they frequently hold. They really play in tune with instructions given verbally or on papers. They also play serious compositions both at workshops and in concerts.
It is all about listening. I find listening is more emphasised here than playing. It is a collaborative listening in groups. So far as I have seen, people naturally learn to listen when playing pieces. I suspect most of them even have not realised how much concentration they have given in listening. Amazingly Philip manages to achieve that without bombast lecturing (what a wonderful lecturer!) All happen in beautiful fluxes. He has special aptitude, which I seriously envy. His sense of humour may be taken for granted without further appreciation. However I believe his attendance to observe individual needs – someone being isolated, feeling tense, exaggerating, bored, lost – whatever it is sensored, keeps Edges Ensemble so interesting and interesting.
How many of us know John Cage as name, but a composition? the same of Christian Wolff, in comparison with, let`s say, Bach?
So here is Edges Ensemble, which plays not only renowned crazy composers, but also new composers available.
Philip recommended I get a book called `Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation` by James Saunders and John Lely (who used to be lecturers at the University of Huddersfield)
Received by Amazon, the book lives on my desk. It is a fascinating book which I must thoroughly read. Again Edges showed me to further step ahead of music.
I can not complain they are cutting edge. I only love them and am proud I can attend.