British conductor and composer Benjamin Ellin is currently artistic director of EMFEB (Every Music For EveryBody), music director of Thursford Productions, principal conductor of the Slaithwaite Philharmonic and Director of the Pembroke Academy of Music, London.
Notes from the Composer
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Ensemble conducted by James Watson
A major work for brass and percussion, Nahstops 2 was written in 2004 for James Watson and the Royal Academy of Music in London. It is a dramatic and varied work composed for a large ensemble—the same size as that used in Elgar Howarth’s version of Pictures at an Exhibition—and while not programmatic, it is written in episodes or chapters. The extract here first splits the two sections of trombones and trumpets, with one group playing a vibrant dancelike theme and the other a broad melody, before combining the forces in a dramatic conclusion.
Tafahum (Arabic for understanding)
Performed by the EMFEB Symphony Orchestra; Ney, Louai Alhenawi; conducted by Benjamin Ellin.
Tafahum, the Arabic word for understanding, is a concerto for ney (the Arabic flute) and symphony orchestra. It was first performed in London in 2008 as part of a wider project to combine Western and Eastern music, musicians and audiences. The concerto was written for and performed by the soloist Louai Alhenawi, a wonderful musician of genuine creativity and curiosity. In the concerto the soloist explores the various sections of the orchestra, an obviously foreign entity, and develops friendships, alliances and hostilities. The extract here is the concerto’s conclusion, which sees the joyful unity of two worlds, two ideas and two peoples. Tafahum is also the story of my friendship with Louai, but as this live performance shows, the journey was taken by many who were there.