Andrew Webb-Mitchell

The English Composer

  • "....his competence as an orchestrator is faultless, over-ridden by his genuine creative gifts. Imagine, if you will, a latter-day Tippett at the outset of his career: it is that good.”
    Matthew Robert-Walker
  • "In Songs of Awe and Wonder, Andrew Webb-Mitchell has created a stunning set of symphonic songs on a grand scale. The music is full of passion and heroism, with glorious harmony and beautiful textures...
  • ....The orchestration is beautifully detailed and the vocal writing creates a soaring line that carries the listener right through the vast canvas of the cycle."
    Tasmin Little OBE
  • "What a work it was! I could go on and on about its beauty, accessibility, anti-modern but still new and different, use of color throughout the ensemble, ...But most importantly... The little touch of magic....
  • ....(the) ability to craft a score that was so intense, thick, and full of rich and challenging parts for every individual instrument..
  • and, at the same time, one that the average patron with little musical background can embrace."
    Robert Trocina, Music Director, Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra
  • “Songs of Awe and Wonder is a beautiful, joyous and uplifting new work by a very accomplished composer....
  • ...Soaring vocal lines, sparkling orchestration and direct, vivid storytelling. A great new work.”
    Michael Price
  • "Andrew Webb Mitchell has produced a remarkable and important work in Songs of Awe and Wonder...
  • ...Dedicated to Gustav Mahler, this is passionate music on a grand scale – a modern day Song of the Earth."
    John Lenehan
  • "There is dream, daring and duende in the poetry of Songs of Awe and Wonder....
  • ...The core of these lyrics is their sheer, stark elegiac power reminding me of how I felt the first time I heard Rilke's Duino Elegies."
    David Morley

News


Violin Concerto ‘Arin Mirkan’ – A Response of Music and Light

28th Feb 2018

Whilst sketching my violin concerto in the autumn of 2014, western media was saturated by news of the continuing Syrian nightmare and, in particular, events in Kobani. Among the multitude of articles circulating at that time, one story stood out from the others. During the ferocious battle, a young Kurdish fighter reportedly lost her life by detonating explosives attached to her body, killing several jihadists and disabling a tank. This act of heroism had a direct and positive impact on the morale of the Kurdish forces during the battle, and was one of the key events that contributed to eventual victory in Kobani.

 

With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the Siege of Kobani was a turning point in the fight against the hitherto undefeated Islamic State and, as such, symbolic of an epic stand against barbarity. Deilar Kanj Khamis, also known by the nom-de-guerre Arin Mirkan, was a 22-year-old mother of two. What had possessed this young woman to put herself in harm’s way, leaving the relative safety of home and family to join an all-female unit of Kurdish fighters? To a certain extent, we can only speculate. What we do know, however, is that during interviews with Kurdish forces in northern Syria, various fighters described the war against the Islamic State as a fight for humanity. As a composer, I felt the need to respond to this. Afterall, Arin and her comrades-in-arms had been fighting for me too.

 

My concerto is not a requiem for Arin, but rather a celebration of life and humanity, the very things she was fighting to preserve. This is a European composer’s personal response to some of the darkest events in recent history. I respond with music, with light. The sounds of war are occasionally present in the concerto, particularly in the first movement, but they are merely distant echoes. The mood of the music is often heroic, sometimes playful, sometimes pensive; the melodies are lyrical and youthful.

 

I dedicate this concerto to one of my own personal heroes, the great writer and journalist Christopher Hitchens who was a friend and advocate of the Kurdish people. His voice is greatly missed.

 

Andrew Webb-Mitchell

 

Zhuhai, China

28 February 2018

 


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