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British Composer Awards 2009

Vocal: John Casken - The Dream of the Rood
The judges said: “This is an epic work setting a striking text. We were immediately gripped by its gravitas and beautiful harmonic language - a powerful and emotional piece.”

Instrumental Solo or Duo: Thomas Simaku - Soliloquy V, Flauto Acerbo
The judging panel unanimously agreed that the winning work redefines the instrument in a visionary and entirely original way. They praised it for its virtuosity, depth of expression, and powerful imagination.

Liturgical: John Tavener – Ex Maria Virgine
The judges were impressed with the scope of the winning work and felt it would have many applications in many settings for both amateur and professional chapel choirs. They described it as, “dramatic, atmospheric, at times joyous and attimes meditative.”

Community or Educational Project: Mira Calix - My Secret Heart
The judges describe the winning work as, “transformational, capturing raw humanity and giving voice to the disenfranchised in a sound-world which is original, absorbing and unsettling.”

Chamber: Alexander Goehr - Since Brass, Nor Stone…
The judges praised the winning work – “fresh lyricism, lightness of touch and joy in melodic and rhythmic invention.” The panel’s decision was unanimous for a work which they hailed as that of a master.

Sonic Art: Mark Peter Wright – A Quiet Reverie
The panel thought the winning work was a “skilled and subtle essay in the manipulation of environmental sounds. It is immersive and reflective and a powerful evocation of place and space.”

International: John Adams – Doctor Atomic
This is what the judges had to say about the winning work: “This music has an epic sweep. It demonstrates a formidable
technique in all departments and exudes an incredible poignancy. Simply, sensational.”

Orchestral: Simon Holt – a table of noises
The judges came to a unanimous decision and have provided a pithy verdict about the winning composition: “This work
shows an extraordinary sense of beguiling and haunting instrumental sonorities, defining a piece of breathtaking
originality, imagination, invention and wit.”

Stage Works: Graham Fitkin – Reel
The jury felt this was a very strong set of entries and while shortlisting these three significant works, they indicated there could easily have been more. The winning work they say, is by a composer with a “clear and original musical voice. It is inventive, elegant and witty, and demonstrates a perfect partnership between music and dance.”

Making Music: Elizabeth Winters - The Serious Side of Madness
The jury says that, from the outset, they were “intrigued and delighted by the sound world of the winning work.” In a large and diverse field, it stood out for the composer’s fine ear and excellent technique. Easily playable by amateurs, in the judges’ view, it was nonetheless clearly a serious and effective concert work.


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