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‘An extraordinary, almost exotic work’

Composer Jonathan Dove (Trinity 1977) shares the sounds which shaped his student days at Cambridge.

  • Interview
    Sarah Woodward
- 2 minute read
  • Ravel album artwork

    Piano Concerto in G Major

    Maurice Ravel

    This is the only concerto I have played in public with an orchestra, in 1979 in Trinity Chapel, with Charles Peebles (Trinity 1977) conducting. My mother came to hear me play. She died unexpectedly just a few weeks later, so it is the last piece she ever heard me perform. I wish she had lived to hear my carol, Three Kings, sung at Christmas at King’s.

  • George Benjamin album artwork

    Ringed by the Flat Horizon

    George Benjamin

    I saw this performed in Cambridge in the spring of my last year. It made a huge impression on me; an extraordinary, almost exotic work. George (King’s 1978) was a year below me but had already had private lessons with Olivier Messiaen and went on that year to become the youngest ever composer at the Proms when this piece was performed.

  • Robin Holloway album artwork

    Second Concerto for Orchestra

    Robin Holloway

    Robin Holloway (King’s 1961) taught me composition in my final year and gave me a feeling of musical freedom. I first heard this piece of his own music on a tape recorder in his rooms with some of his composer friends. Listening to it, I felt as if we were invited to share a journey through a dreamscape.

  • Johannes Brahms album artwork

    Piano Quintet in F Minor

    Johannes Brahms

    I first played this at school in the duet form and have always loved it. In my first term, I got together with four other music students to perform the ‘real thing’ in Trinity Chapel. The cellist was Jane Salmon (Clare 1977), who went on to join the Schubert Ensemble, and for whom I later wrote my first quintet.

Jonathan Dove’s most recent opera, Marx in London, premiered in Bonn in December 2018.

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