Appendix B – Four Electronic Music Concerts

Electronic music

            On 15 January 1968 Redcliffe Concerts gave the first-ever concert in Britain of Electronic Music by British composers, the programme for which is our tenth illustration. It was the work of Tristram Cary and Peter Zinovieff, who did the most to establish and advance professionally the technique of composition by computer in this country.

Illustration 10
First London Concert of Electronic Music

  1.  First London concert of Electronic Music by British composers             

Queen Elizabeth Hall Monday 15 January 1968

Presented by Tristram Cary / Peter Zinovieff EMS


Potpourri                                                       Delia Derbyshire

Diversed mind                                               Ernest Berk

3 4 5                                                                Tristram Cary

Birth is life is power is death is God is…..   Tristram Cary

December Quartet                                        Peter Zinovieff

Contrasts Essconic                                        Daphne Oram and Ivor Walsworth

* * * *

Partita for unattended computer               Peter Zinovieff

Silent Spring                                                  George Newson

Syntheses 8, 9, and 12                                   Jacob Meyerowitz

Agnus Dei                                                      Peter Zinovieff

March probabilistic                                      Peter Zinovieff and Alan Sutcliffe                                                                       

The event was outwardly a spectacular success. A sell-out, a packed Elizabeth Hall, a taxi queue extending to Waterloo Station, and numerous reviews, far larger and more detailed than was normally the practice, some showing insight, particularly those in scientific journals, like Wireless World and Computer Weekly, all reflecting a high level of public curiosity, fed by the novelty value of the new technology.

            One result of the concert was to stimulate the setting up of computerised studios in the music colleges and the music departments of universities throughout the country. The concert had demonstrated the stage reached in computer technology in this country.Cary and Zinovieff were invited to give another Redcliffe Concert the following year, with live instruments to supplement and modulate the computer – generated sounds. A computer by itself could not make music without a composer’s creative ordering.

            Two British composers were, in the 70s, researching seriously into using the computer as an integral part of their materia musica, Harrison Birtwistle and Jonathan Harvey. Each was commissioned by Redcliffe Concerts to compose a piece. Birtwistle’s Chronometer (1972) was based on the ticking of clocks. Harvey’s Inner Light 1 (1973) was pure abstract research into the harmonic spectrum. Its continuous transitions and “changing degrees of determinacy“ were explored in the relation of computer-generated sounds to pitched instrumental sounds. It was a work – in – progress, to be continued in the fourth Redcliffe Concert (1973)

In all, there were four concerts of Electronic Music given by Redcliffe Concerts, details of which are listed in this Appendix; the last was given on 26th November 1973

The story has a postscript. Just as the four Electronic Music concerts show a development in the use of the new medium, so Birtwistle and Harvey developed it in their later works; Birtwistle in his opera The Mask of Orpheus, for which Zinovieff wrote the libretto and electronics are integrated for the first time as part of the orchestral sonority; and Harvey in a piece for soprano and electronics From Silence, which is the point of arrival of his earlier researches. At a 50th birthday concert for him in 1989, From Silence was performed twice, and followed with Inner Light I, composed fifteen years earlier.

2.  Second London concert of Electronic Music by British composers

Queen Elizabeth Hall Monday, 10 February, 1969

Presented by Cary / Zinovieff E M S                    


Four Interludes from a tragedy (I)              Harrison Birtwistle

   For Basset Clarinet and tape                         

M – Piriform                                                 Justin Connolly and Peter Zinovieff

 Violin and Tape                                            

Violin, Flute and Soprano

Violin, Flute, Soprano and tape

Spasmo                                                           Alan Sutcliffe

                                                                                  Studio of origin EMS London                       

The Final Desolation of Solitude               Lawrence Casserly

Equation (Part 1)                                          Don Banks

Four Interludes from a Tragedy (II)          Harrison Birtwistle

                                                                        * * * *

          Four Interludes from a Tragedy (III)        Harrison Birtwistle                                      

Narcissus                                                       Tristram Cary

          Sonata 6                                                         Donald Henshilwood

Shozyg I                                                         Hugh Davies

Sychrome                                                       Ernest Berk

Four Interludes from a Tragedy (IV)        Harrison Birtwistle

3.  Third Concert of Electronic and Computer Music by British Composers

Queen Elizabeth Hall Monday 24 April 1972

Presented by Tristram Cary / Peter Zinovieff, Electronics by EMS London



Fireworks I                                                   EMS

          Bedtime Stories                                            Howard Rees

          Poem one Dedicated to you                           Lars-Gunner Bodin

          Poem two Dance Figure (for EP)                  Sten Hanson

Chronometer                                                Harrison Birtwistle

Commissioned by Redcliffe Concerts of British Music with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. First performance

* * * *

Fireworks 2                                                   EMS

          Trios                                                               Tristram Cary

          Poem three                                                      Peter Zinovieff

          Poem four

Gesang der jünglinge                                    Karlheinz Stockhausen

4.  Fourth concert of Electronic Music by British composers.

Queen Elizabeth Hall Monday, 26 November 1973

Presented by Tristram Cary / Peter Zinovieff

Ulysses EnsembleFl. Cl. Vln. Vla. Vc. Pf. Org. Perc.

Directed by Jonathan Harvey, Christopher Wintle



Chanson de Geste                                         Harrison Birtwistle

Duets for tape and ensemble

Edited for an ensemble of five instruments by Christopher Wintle

Trio for flute and tape                                  Simon Desorgher

          Exercise for a passing cloud                         EMS Putney

For 4-track tape                                                               

         Continuum II (revised)                                Tristram Cary                            

         For 4-track tape, violin and cello                                                      


China Music for 4 track tape                        Hans Werner Henze

Inner Light 1 for seven players and tape   Jonathan Harvey

First performance

Commissioned by the Redcliffe Concerts of British Music

with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.                                                  

Appendix C

We regret to advise that Francis Routh died peacefully on 27th November 2021
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