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Dadaville (Study Score)

Dadaville (Study Score)

Gary Carpenter

Dadaville was commissioned by the BBC for the opening concert of the 2015 Proms season.

Inspired by the Max Ernst painted collage of the same name whilst in the Tate, Liverpool the composer was drawn to the foreboding gate which dominates the picture. Although it appears to be metal it is actually made from cork, and the piece explores this ambiguity whilst pondering on the mystery of what lies behind the gate>
"Gary Carpenter’s six-minute Dadaville was flecked with a dark, syncopated glamour that was hard to place, as if a film noir score had been crossed with the spirit of 1920s Berlin. He rung the changes ... with entertaining ingenuity, the piece eventually building to riotous a complication of polyrhythm which ended in a literal burst of fireworks in the balcony."
Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph

"... a piece about deceptive appearances that progresses from its creepily sweet strings-and-harp opening to a passage of considerable rhythmic violence, its mood gradually turning more jubilant and its final chord coinciding with a burst of indoor fireworks from the balcony."
Tim Ashley, The Guardian

"One of the best new pieces to be premiered on a first night for years."
Richard Morrison, The Times

"Gary Carpenter’s well-crafted and witty Dadaville, inspired by Max Ernst’s 1924 painting in Tate Liverpool, began with spiky modernity and metamorphosed into a brilliant funk ending with a dazzle of indoor fireworks: a clever and serious first premiere of the season... ...Carpenter (born 1951) has a lot of musical voices, all interesting."
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

"... an engaging juxtaposition of eerily ethereal timbres, and exuberant jazzy rhythms, built fugato-like and with assertive punctuations from a huge bank of percussionists. Carpenter joins the phalanx of composers who have penned something similarly attractive, not least Mark-Anthony Turnage, and I doubt its surprise firework-fizzing ending can ever be repeated."
Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post

"Carpenter’s new piece was a terrific orchestral scherzo showpiece, scored and paced with real mastery."
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times

"Taking Dadaville as it reached the ears, the opening is mysterious and meditative –at first light (yes, a George Benjamin title) – giving way to bustling and gawky passages bristling with activity, the music jazzy if hard-edged (hence Kenton) – trombone and baritone sax given riffs, further contrast offered through a liquid centre for solo strings. Ambiguous or not, Dadaville (the music) has its macabre aspects and seems set on a mechanistic course culminating with a final – visual – flare-like flourish (outside of the Hall, television viewers had the advantage here). It may be (and this is meant as a compliment) that Dadaville is too compressed and there is a bigger piece trying to get out, but it worked enjoyably on the night and clearly has a life beyond Kensington."
Colin Anderson, Classical Source

"For a few years, the annual Proms season began with a première, which was nice but reduced the piece (or, at least, reduced composers’ aspirations) to a mere curtain-raiser. Gary Carpenter‘s Dadaville, which received its first performance in the opening Proms concert last week, did not begin the concert (that task fell to Nielsen), but the piece would in fact have worked wonderfully well as a concert-opening overture, but one with considerable chops and ambition. Taking both its title and essence from Max Ernst’s 1920s artwork of the same name, Dadaville, in the moment, appears to be characterising itself as yet another short ride on yet another fast machine. But it’s more than that. If anything, the bristling activity that bookends the piece seems less about momentum than energy, practically crackling with arcs and sparks emanating from its restless core. Initially irregular and unpredictable, sharp accents firing out seemingly at random, it soon falls into regularity and a pugilistic motivic outburst. This is picked up in its later incarnation, rising through the winds before splintering into a gyrating, funky dancefloor of elated mayhem coated in melodic brass hoo-hahs and fripperies, culminating in a sizzling, brash burst of fireworks (both imagined and real – a first for the Proms?). That ‘essence’ of Max Ernst’s Dadaville i mentioned before is the work’s inherent fragility, which for Carpenter becomes an “ambivalence” captured in a startlingly contrasting central episode. Hinted at in the work’s opening moments, Carpenter expands them into a soft but wide, lyrical vista, tinged with Messiaen-like ecstatic radiance. It lasts barely a minute, but this passing glimpse into something eternal transforms Dadaville into very much more than mere ephemera, matching elation with elevation."

"Carpenter is a composer who always creates an exquisite mixture of sound and this little gem is no exception. It is a joyous piece with jazzy elements, almost swing-like, which gives it a rather special charm, and the finale was as fabulous as it was unexpected... It stunned the audience, bringing a variety of amazed exclamations... (and)...well-deserved, fervent applause."
Margarida Mota-Bull, Seen and Heard International

"...a series of contrasting episodes. Ranging from Ravel to Ginastera, these are underpinned by infectious rhythms and attractively orchestrated, with some excellent parts for individual players... The disparate ideas gradually coalesced, driving the piece towards its end: a brief reference to the start of Beethoven`s Ninth Symphony, and that was it. Colourful, engaging and witty: perfectly pitched for the First Night, and which deserves to be heard in its rightful place as concert opener."
Katy Wright, Bachtrack

"As the music slowly and quietly opened there seemed to be very much the sound world of Britten in one of his Sea Interludes, an exquisitely conceived opening. Soon, however, there were little instrumental outbursts around the moments of tranquil beauty. As the work grew there were moments of disruptive, menacing undertones, as the music slowly built, insistently, with jazz style brass phrases to a final climax with the surprise of fireworks to conclude. A brilliant piece from a composer that I am becoming increasingly drawn towards."
The Classical Reviewer

"Gary Carpenter pitched his Dadaville just right for a First Night commission. The title comes from a Max Ernst work at Tate Liverpool, and the music itself is suitably Dada too. A range of styles are brought together into an eclectic and unpredictable mix. The quiet, breezy passages of the opening suggest Debussy, but soon the tempo picks up and the music becomes more rhythmic and percussion-driven. Carpenter explains in the programme that his piece is designed to exploit the large orchestra assembled for Belshazzar’s Feast, although his textures are considerably more straightforward than Walton’s. More often than not, the strings are employed in simple octave or unison stabs, punching out the rhythms beneath similarly forthright melodic statements from the woodwind and brass. Although short, the piece has a piecemeal sectional structure, but is brought together at the end by a riotous jazzy finale, capped by an impressive trombone break from Helen Vollam. On the final chord we even got fireworks, shot off from the gallery above. Bizarre, but fully in the spirit of Carpenter’s score."
Gavin Dixon, The Arts Desk

"Gary Carpenter’s Proms commission work Dadaville began...with the orchestral stuttering and twinkling percussion that became somewhat of a hallmark of late-twentieth-century orchestral pieces; but via a fascinating bluesy conversation between a baritone saxophone and a bass clarinet (a truly unusual combination), it moved to a catchy rhythmic coda for full orchestra (ending literally with fireworks – described by Carpenter as ‘a Rammstein-type pyrotechnical explosion’) which marked it out as a worthy successor to twentieth-century jazz-inspired works such as Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto, or Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs."
Barry Creasy, MusicOMH

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