Culture: Chance to Celebrate a Feast of Glorious Sound; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Barber Institute, University of Birmingham

Article excerpt

Byline: Anders Ostberg

There is something wonderfully mischievous about hearing and seeing a period ensemble performing a contemporary composition; it is the musical equivalent of having a big bag of crisps while on a diet.

In this case the ensemble was the impeccable Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the piece was The Middleham Jewel by Jonathan Dove. Dove's composition, premiered the night before at the Victoria & Albert Museum, was the result of a commission by the National Art Collections Fund to form a part of this concert celebrating its centenary.

Each piece was matched with a work of art acquired with the fund's help by the collections being visited on this tour.

Inspired by the beautiful 15th century Middleham Jewel in the Yorkshire Museum, Dove's piece was immediately compelling in its use of period instrument sonorities within a contemporary musical language. The playfulness and quality of the music made for a piece I would be very happy to hear again. …