Many years ago, more years than I care to remember, a young Chris Brannick did a concert with an amazing young free-bass accordionist called Neil Varley at the British Music Information Centre in London. Looking for ways to fill the programme, I asked an equally young British composer called Robert Keeley to write a piece for vibraphone.
His 5 Études for vibraphone were duly written, performed and enjoyed. However, in spite of good intentions, they never received their second performance, and they sat in a drawer in my house, to be nodded over and indulgently cuddled from time to time. That was 1990.
Fast forward to 2013 (for it is now) and the Goldmiths PureGold Festival provided that opportunity. A concert shared with the fragrant Victoria Soames Samek (clarinets and sax) allowed us to intertwine Rob’s lovely miniatures with József Sári’s Stati – Quattro Tempi per Clarinetto Solo and James MacMillan’s From Galloway.
I left my iPhone on, with its unbelievably hi-tech ‘Voice Memos’ app, and here are the 5 movements in all their creaking, clicking, lo-res beauty.
My plan is to gradually update each movement with a better recording and a few more right notes. In the meantime, just enjoy the finesse of the writing. Simply gorgeous.
Rob Keeley’s biog is available here:
And a link to his latest recording (not on an iPhone Voice Memo) here:
You can also find a recording of his A Short Promenade on the FourSight website here: