The Guardian festival blog: SoundState festival review – buzzing with ideas | Music

It wasn’t so long ago that pop music was grappling with heavy subject matter – war, politics, philosophy, art, sexuality, race – while “serious music” made a great show of dealing with nothing but itself. Nowadays, as much pop music seems to have jettisoned most notions of political or ideological engagement, contemporary orchestral music seems to be more engaged than ever. Over five days, the SoundState festival buzzed with ideas.

Across a variety of concert halls at Southbank Centre, there was music addressing all sorts of heavy subjects. Grace-Evangeline Mason’s Into the Abyss, I Throw Roses was a beautiful and muscular piece for a string trio inspired by a Nietzsche quote; Deborah Pritchard’s Seraphim explored the notion of the fallen angel through a harp solo that was played by harpist Gabriella Jones as if it had been digitally manipulated; Slovenian composer Vito Žuraj’s cartoonish composition Runaround was…


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