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Faculty of Music


A new orchestral piece by Reader in Composition, Richard Causton was one of just two pieces selected by BBC Radio 3 to represent the UK at the International Rostrum of Composers (an annual forum for national public radio broadcasters run under the umbrella of UNESCO), which was held last week in Bariloche, Argentina. Richard's piece was Recommended, meaning that all participating radio stations will broadcast the piece - so it will now be transmitted in at least 27 countries worldwide.

Ik zeg: NU ("I say: NOW") was first performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in January to critical acclaim:

'Richard Causton's new work for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ik zeg: NU, holds two timeframes in play simultaneously, and brilliantly.' (Erica Jeal, The Guardian)

'Now-ness and then-ness move in parallel in this spacious, beautifully constructed work' (Anna Picard, The Times)

'It was a fabulously ear-tickling display of compositional skill, which every now and then took on a poetic resonance.' (Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph)


Richard writes: Ik zeg: NU ("I say: Now") is named after a book by my Dutch relative, Sal van Son. In the foreword to this book, the author writes: 'Time strides forwards; it never stands still. My ten-year-old great nephew remarked philosophically “I say now now, and a moment later it is already history"'. So my piece is partly about the passage of time: the 'now' becomes the past from the moment it has been named. But it is also a homage to my 98-year-old relative, whose book traces the history of his Jewish family through four centuries, including his own years in hiding from the Nazis in occupied Holland during the Second World War'.

Richard constructed a new set of specially-tuned tubular bells especially for use in the piece, and together with the sounds of detuned vibraphones, a prepared piano and accordion, their haunting, resonant sound evokes the complex and elusive nature of passing time.