Benedict Mason

  • Composer

Early pursuits as a filmmaker reinforced an intensely visual orientation, yet from the start, Mason's passion has been not for illustration, but investigation. 

Though earliest works from the 1990’s became increasingly intricate, in recent works, the eye and mind of a visual artist, is apparent, not only in the presentation of the scores (above all, the exquisite notation of felt | ebb | thus | brink | here | array | telling), but in the retinal response they call for.

However it is not just a matter of creating scores: for Mason, sculpting sound also means making instruments. This is more than a simple 'luthier' role: it is the product of reflection, research, and imagining. One elaborates what exists, reconstructs what is lost or unrecoverable, and seeks to realize dreams, as in THE NEURONS, THE TONGUE, THE COCHLEA.... THE BREATH, THE RESONANCE, while a synthesis of all these elements is found in recent pieces such as Presence and Penumbrae: Fire Organ, Photosonic Disks and Six Percussionists;

Other later pieces include:

igloos inclines isograms for the 8 horns of the Berlin Phiharmonic;

Music for Oslo City Hall - a 75 minute work for 96 musicians which opened the 2010 Ultima Festival.

ENSEMBLEfor Three Identical Ensembles (premiered by Ensemble MusikFabrik, Ensemble Modern and Klangform Wien) at the 2013 Achtbrücken Festival in Cologne.

Musik für die Philharmonie Berlin Philharmonic; Karajan Akademie; Simon Rattle.

Meld commissioned by BBC Proms for 150 singers and instrumentalists. Aurora Orchestra; Chantage; Nicholas Collon.

Perhaps the best insights into Mason's current thinking come from outside sight unseen and opened, a beautiful volume of 130 one-page texts, with fragile, Klee-like graphics that are allusively allied to the texts, but not explicitly illustrative of them.

Richard Toop (abridged)

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