Author Archives: jennipinnock

Welcome to the website of Colchester New Music

We are a cooperative of composers based in East Anglia. We aim to develop artistically and professionally through coming together to share knowledge, support, and to run workshops and events to benefit ourselves, other composers, and the greater artistic community.

Please follow the links above to find out more about us, to listen to music from some of our events, or see information about current and former projects, or perhaps have a look at our current calls for scores. Below you can see our latest news posts.


Effects of the Light – Private view at the Digby Gallery, Mercury Theatre, Colchester, 16th November 2013


CNM Publicity Officer Alexander Blustin has an exhibition of his linocuts in the Digby Gallery of the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, from 12-20th November. The exhibition is entitled Effects of the Light. You will have seen some of Alex’s work on recent CNM posters.

As part of the private view on 16th November (11.30am-1.30pm), Alex has invited CNM members Rich Perks and Colin Blundell to provide interactive performances. Rich will relate interpretations of the linocut images via his fretless electric guitar, demonstrating the intriguing capabilities of the instrument. Colin Blundell will be both interpreting Alex’s images and providing some of his own music, performing on his sopranino, descant and bass recorders.

Notes on the performances by Bespoke Brass at the Headgate Theatre on Saturday 13th July 2013

Alan Parsons, August 2013

This was billed as ‘Cutting Edge Brass’. Unfortunately many of the pieces included in the programme were anything but ‘cutting edge’ being rather on the conventional side of brass writing. However, the programme did contain a number of original and imaginative pieces for the medium, mostly from existing CNM members. The members of Bespoke Brass played excellently throughout.

Tim Torry’s Salutation from his Brass Suite made a suitable opening to the programme. Tim describes it as ‘exuberant and sometimes jazzy’, and it had a well handled cumulative effect.

Jenni Pinnock’s Brass and Bronze began with some delicate and imaginative sounds. It made use of rhythmic and melodic patterns derived from both bugle calls and bell ringing. Samples of bell sounds were effectively integrated with the brass instruments.

Wes Stephens’ Tango from his Dance Suite was nicely written for the medium, but routine in its expression.

Bernard Hughes’ Noble Music for a Ceremonial Occasion made a traditional use of the medium, introducing some interesting harmonic twists.

Alan Bullard’s Archbishop Harsnett meets Doctor Gilberd was perhaps the most original and imaginative piece in the programme. It was an eloquently dramatic musical representation of an imaginary conversation between two Colchester worthies from the sixteenth century. Scored for trumpet and horn it was beautifully played by Steve Drury and Eddie Morgan.

Stuart Russell’s From Brass and Bells was based on sampled brass and bell sounds. It was a purposeful, imaginative and very effective use of the electronic medium. This piece really goes somewhere and has a real sense of drama, avoiding the tendency of much electronic music to remain static and simply indulge in beautiful sounds. It contained some delicate as well as expressive sounds.

Greg Bartholomew’s Quand j’étais Chez mon Père was a simple melodic and harmonic setting of traditional Canadian songs.

Tim Cook’s Entrade was very much in the tradition of English music of the interwar years, both in its melodic and harmonic aspects. Within this tradition it was competently written.

Gordon Saville’s Jigsaw was likewise well written and was evidently by someone who was very familiar with the medium, containing certain virtuoso elements, but again it was very conventional in both content and expression.

Julia Usher’s Rumours of Cuts was concerned with trees and their preservation, and by extension with the present economic plight. Her approach was primarily dramatic, giving rise to sounds that were fascinating and imaginative and increasingly disturbing, even threatening. The sounds of the brass instruments were effectively enhanced by electronic diffusion.

Laurence Glazier’s A Colchester Rag was an amusing parody, reminiscent of the work of Eric Satie.

Jean-Pierre Vial’s Vingt Deux Septiemes ou Presque was a study in nostalgia, being an arrangement of a piano composition written when the composer was seventeen. The expression was very traditional with cloying harmonies.

Andrea Montalbano’s Regal Minimalism attempted to be up to date by using minimalist techniques and the whole-tone scale, but the result was rather static and seemed to get nowhere.

My own Friday Woods is part of a Colchester Suite originating as an improvisation for the Colchester based group Firewire. It was meant to evoke the feeling of calmness and quiet one gets on entering woodland.

Elspeth Manders’ Siamese Cats was written when she was only seventeen. It shows a mature, if somewhat cautious, use of the medium, and is full of promise.

Robin Benton’s Rhythmic Rondo was a lively, if conventional and rather repetitive piece which made a pleasant ending to the programme.

Alan Parsons  August 2013

Cutting Edge Brass – 13th July 2013

On Saturday 13th July, Cutting Edge Brass – the culmination of Colchester New Music’s Spring 2013 call for scores and member submissions – was held in the Headgate Theatre, Colchester. The concert was a great success.

Please visit the Cutting Edge Brass page to listen to pieces from the concert, and to find out more about Steve Drury and the Bespoke Brass ensemble.