Bangor New Music festival, held under the auspices of the university’s School of Music, celebrated its 10th anniversary with its most ambitious programme to date, and no concert signalled the event’s energy and range better than the one given by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and featuring three firsts.
The school boasts three notable composers – Pwyll ap Siôn, Andrew Lewis and Guto Puw – and works by them made up the challenging first half. Ap Siôn’s Gwales, dating from 1995, pays homage to the late William Mathias, under whose aegis music flourished at Bangor. Building on fragments quoted from Mozart’s Requiem, the work depicts a journey towards the mythical island of Gwales.
In the first of the new pieces, Andrew Lewis also took us on a journey, this time in and out of consciousness. Number Nine Dream explored the first movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony through the hazy veil of the contemporary electro-acoustic sound-world, making for an absorbing aural experience.