Healing the Wounds of Europe

Europe weekendDear friends,

in September when Parliament returns the crisis over Brexit will reach its most extreme point – as if it hadn’t been extreme enough over the last three years already.
It is, unfortunately, hardly likely that a really fruitful way forward will be arrived at in the mainstream arena of politics, riven as it is by so many jostling viewpoints and prejudicial interests.
And yet the questions that the whole crisis raises, if addressed open-mindedly, with a willingness to face historical truths, can open up genuinely transformative possibilities for the future. Seeking fruitful ways forward together whilst engaging with the profound challenge of the present, we hope can reveal significant new perspectives, for example regarding the destiny of Europe and of the British Isles, the changing role of nations today, or the profound changes being asked of us in social, political, economic and cultural life.

If you are firmly entrenched in one of the mainstream political ‘solutions’ to the present crisis, then this event may not be for you.

But if you wish to participate in an event, where there will be
profound, challenging and potentially transformative contributions from different perspectives,
where the aim is not to convince anyone of one viewpoint or another,

but rather,

to create an inspiring ‘space’

– with the help of a strong artistic element to the event and forums for open conversation.

With all best wishes
Richard (Ramsbotham.)

(The event is mainly being organised and carried by Richard Ramsbotham, Adrian Locher, Sigune Brinch and Gregers Brinch.)
P.S. Please also forward this email to others you know who may be interested.

It is also possible to attend just the Saturday, if it is difficult for you to stay overnight in London.
I attach below both the programme for the whole event and the electronic flyer.
Bookings can be made via the website on the flyer – or you can just turn up on the day.

Latest Premiere in London and in Dornach, Switzerland

It was a real treat to hear my Andante Moderato played by the inimitable Louis Demetrius Alvanis. His playing of my piece was very well receives by the audience. The whole concert was in fact a tour de force by this remarkable duo.

On 15th March there was a conference in Dornach, near Basel on the theme of the Intervals. I was not able to attend this so I sent my piece for Solo piano Peace Prelude as a contribution to the theme, as it is composed with a strong sense of the intervals.
At the opening of the conference it was performed by Johannes Greiner:

Lieber Gregers,ich habe heute Abend beim Kolloquium Dein Peace Prelude gespielt. Es war sehr schön und ist gut angekommen. Wir waren etwa 27 Menschen. Da hast Du etwas Schönes geschaffen!

Liebe Grüsse


Review of Spirals from Musicweb

Interesting new music superbly recorded and impeccably played



Gregers BRINCH (b. 1964)
Sonata for Violin and Piano No.1 Op.34 [20.26]
Sonata for Violin and Piano No.2 Op.64 [16.11]
12 Duos for Violins Op.60 [25.50]
Jonathan Truscott (violin)
William Hancox (piano)
Gazsi Josef (violin: duos)
rec. St Bartholomew’s Church, Brighton, UK, 2008
Stereo 24/192; also available on CD CC5996-2
CLAUDIO BD-A CC5996-6 [62:49]


Gregers Brinch (pronounced ‘brink’) will be a new name to most listeners. He is of Danish/American parents, was born in Denmark but lived much of his life in England. His music has been performed in England, Denmark, Germany and France. Like the notes with this issue, everything I can find on-line, including the ubiquitous Wikipedia, is sourced from his own writings. His recorded music as listed on Presto Classical is mostly on the Claudio label. His website notes some other recordings not listed by Presto. Brinch states as a sort of maxim that “the main component in any good music is attentive listening.” That being the case I have listened to the disc a few times and to some other music on-line including his Quartet No.1, a more gritty piece available on Navona Records NV5830 as well as in a different performance on YouTube. I hope to review the other two volumes soon.

The music on the present disc is easy to listen to and poses no challenges to the above-mentioned attentive listener. Though audibly a “contemporary composer”, Brinch is never tempted to sound aggressively modern and interested purchasers are unlikely to be put off by the mainly lyrical nature of the three works. The two sonatas display compositional skill but I would suspect are more satisfying to players than to audiences. Brinch does note that the “new and challenging” is still to be found whilst working within the bounds of what he describes as “universally experienced musical elements”, which I take to mean the conventions of 20th century tonal music. In that respect he might be compared to Robert Simpson who continued writing particularly string quartets and symphonies within the same tonal and contrapuntal framework, never trying to utilise the wilder extremes of serial or aleatoric composition. It might be noted that the decision did little to increase the number of performances of one of the UK’s best 20th century composers. The story of Malcolm Arnold is not so very different. It was interesting to read Brinch’s article Time and Music where he worries that contemporary composers have lost their audience by making music too challenging to enjoy. I might add that the above pair lost not so much their audience as their performance opportunities by not following the “modern” fashions of the time.

Brinch’s violin duos, which make up a little less than half this disc, are mostly arranged from songs originally scored for voice and violin and each has a title drawn from the words. Without those words the titles become simply labels. There are twelve duos and they provide a varied sequence to the listener, occasionally more impassioned but mainly gently lyrical. The composer’s notes do provide guidance as to his illustrative intentions in the main pieces, the sonatas, but one could have done with a bit more explanation of how the duo titles are reflected in the music and indeed why the disc is called ‘Spirals’.

This Blu-ray or its CD version will probably appeal more to musicians seeking new repertoire than to listeners at home. It may be others will hear more in the pieces than I did and of course there are two other volumes to explore which might alter one’s perspective. Those with high-end playback systems will certainly find this makes for a good demo disc, squeaky clean and spacious in typical Claudio style.

Dave Billinge





The promise of Everlasting Youth – Current theatre project-

It is only a small production, but being engaged in writing the songs and music, editing the script and rehearsing together with David Brett, Yulia Geydenko, Marike, Tabea, Paul and the gorgeous Jasmine and Joyce of Perecles under the playful guidance of awardwinning theatre director Vasile Nedelcu – is indeed a lot of hard work and fun. The performance venue is as follows: www.chiddingstonecastle.org.uk/literary-festival and you can view it here http://bit.ly/2CkIemN.

The Promise of Everlasting Youth