Medlinda Maxwell: Janus

Medlinda Maxwell: Janus

Friday, 29 September 2023, 10.00am

Melinda Maxwell is a composer and oboist who creates “fascinatingly complex” music (Artsdesk) that blends improvisation and composition into a unique musical language. Her improvisations have been described by Ivan Hewett as having “the poise and sense of exact timing one expects from a composed piece”. In this new release Maxwell plays the aulos, or double pipe; probably the first known oboe in the world and the most popular wind instrument of the Ancient Greek and Roman civilisations.

Janus was commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and premiered at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. The eight-piece group performing this 36-minute epic is a mix of classical players and improvisers, and the piece moves seamlessly between composed and improvised passages. The music is distinguished by a vast range of colours and textures from the gentle sound of two auloi to the full sound of the trumpet. The release concludes with Hecate Triptych, a selection of trio improvisations for aulos, bass and percussion. These are live improvisations showing another angle of Maxwell’s highly accomplished music making.

Melinda Maxwell has performed as oboe soloist at many national and international festivals and is frequently heard on BBC Radio 3. In addition to her work as a chamber musician and recitalist, Maxwell is principal oboe of the Endymion Ensemble and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and also performs regularly as principal with London Sinfonietta.

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Hecate Triptych Part 3 by Birmingham Record Company

Published by Andy Ingamells on 15 August 2023

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