Sunday, November 14, 2010

Royal Opera House Create 'Depouillment' Results 2010

 'Create' The Royal Opera Houses's composing competition has turned out to be somewhat of a damp squib. The idea was that the ROH provided some silent ballet footage to encourage composers all over the world to try their hand at composing for the ballet.

Entrants were encouraged to be 'bold' and play with images that could be shared between contestants.

There were two selections to choose from.The good news is the winner Alastare Broadly composed two beautiful original pieces and deserved to win both categories. The sad fact appears it seems there were only three entrants. Alastar and two others one of which was me! I was so enthusiastic I had three goes.

What a missed opportunity for young composers to get discovered by the Establishment.
Sometimes it is not the winning that is important but the taking part. For me to be able to enter this competition would have been considered in my youth a miracle.  I am not a theoretical musician. Like Anne Widdicombe on 'Strictly Dancing', the rescued Chilean miner in the New York Marathon and Eddie the Eagle ski jumper extraordinaire it is the participation against all odds that matters. For me composing anything is the final frontier. My music teachers including Ben Britten would be amazed.

What is disappointing by the lack of entries is that one learns so much from entering this type of competition for it gives the opportunity to 'play' and experiment in areas where one usually does not bother to go and all arts need experimentation if they are to survive. The ROH has to 'play safe' but this means that its productions become mummified, the ROH has to present the established view of the art of ballet and opera so it is essential that sometimes it encourages new blood of whatever age.

I suggested that my professional music teacher friends involved the arts should encourage their composition students to have 'a go' but it seems that perhaps the technical side  of actually getting the composition into a computer and up onto YouTube defeated them. Maybe finance was the barrier because one does need expensive equipment and a bit of know how.

Today it seems it is the oldies that are showing the way. Anne Widdicombe shows that anyone can dance at any age, David Hockney is doing electronic finger painting on iPod Touch, his 'Fresh Flowers' exhibition in Paris shows to me what a true artist he is and I on YouTube using Garageband and iMovie and indeed I am proud of my efforts of composing and image manipulation. I now really can use iMovie and Garageband.

A thorough search of YouTube only came up with the three entrants. I think under the circumstances the ROH could have given me an honorable mention. If I had been David Hockney they would.

The ROH House's website winner's announcement was a little misleading. It sounded as if they had had thousands of entries. The link that allowed visitors to see other entrants other than the winners only led to the ROH Channel where only the two winners were displayed. Where was mine?  Have I got this wrong? Where are the 'other entries'? It also has its 'comments turned off which is a YouTube 'No No'! Only Creationists do that these days! Come on ROH listen to your audience, the lack of entrants tells you that your communication skills need an overhaul if ballet and opera are to survive.

At least I can console myself that I came in second, third and fourth. Oh well, Berlioz did not win the Prix de Rome on his first try! The ROH has found a delightful new composer in Alastar Broadly.

Here is the winning entry and the second place.

Alistar Broadly's winning entry

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