In 2004 I collaborated with Julian Anderson and BCMG – the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group – on the realisation and performance of the electronics of a large-scale ensemble work by the composer, Book of Hours, commissioned by BCMG. I worked with Julian in the Conservatoire’s studios and performed the electronics – together with Jonathan Green, at the Birmingham premiere on 28 January 2005 and at the second performance in Manchester the following day. Both concerts were conducted by Oliver Knussen. BEAST, the Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre at the University of Birmingham also took part in the project, with Scott Wilson as sound engineer.
Commissioned through the Sound Investment scheme, Book of Hours takes its name from the elaborately illuminated medieval manuscripts that divided the day into eight segments, or ‘hours’. The work does not literally portray or depict either of the medieval artefacts but it aims to explore – and somehow unite – the relationships between these very old objects and the very latest technology.
Book of Hours, published by Faber Music, won the Royal Philharmonic Society award for large-scale composition in 2006. The Manchester performance was recorded by the BBC and has been released on CD by NMC Recordings.