Little-known British composer is £60,000 richer

Little-known British composer is £60,000 richer


norman lebrecht

November 09, 2017

If the name Laurence Crane does not spring instantly to mind, do not feel too bad about it.

Crane, 56, has been composing minimalist music for much of his life without ever making it onto the nightly news.

Tonight, he received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award worth £60,000.


Recent and forthcoming work includes:

In February 2018, Crane will premiere in London, a new work for contrabass clarinet and ensemble, commissioned by Rolf Borch with funding from Norwegian Arts Council and composed for Rolf Borch and Cikada Ensemble.

In March 2018 Crane is composing a score for a new 12 minute film by Beatrice Gibson based on a script from Gertrude Stein. Written for clarinet, cello, electric guitar and electric organ, as commission for Borealis Festival, Bergen, Norway, it will be recorded by asamisimasa

May 2018 will see the release of a CD including first recording of Come back to the old specimen cabinet John Vigani, John Vigani part 3 by Jennifer Bewerse and Southland Ensemble on the label ‘A Wave Press’


  • Graeme Hall says:

    Congratulations to him. Little known? Perhaps, but if so people are missing out on some terrific music.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Being ‘little known’ does not mean very much today. New music which is ‘well-known’ does not either. When there is no longer any consensus in music life about quality or idiom or intention, what is presented in public space did not come through some quality filter but is entirely dependent upon other factors. This may seem random, but on the other hand, it stimulates a pluralistic view which is infinitely better than the postwar ideological party lines.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The narcoleptic music of the video gives ‘minimal music’ an entirely new meaning.

    • Bill says:

      Just imagine the possibilities if he starts investigating larger, longer forms!

    • sue says:

      Now wonder they’re ‘short pieces’! I think we can only be grateful for that. The opening piece would be ideal as title music for Thomas the Tank Engine Goes Postmodern.

  • Jennifer Hillman says:

    Hmm. What is music?

  • Don Niperi Septo says:

    This is not real music come on pull the udder one JB. Sounds just like a worn wheel bearing on my XK120!

    • sue says:

      And your first sentence wasn’t punctuated, coherent English. Horses for courses, as they say.

      • Don Niperi Septo says:

        Have you never read any James Joyce? He didn’t punctuate either! The fact is music in 21st Century is rubbish, it went downhill after 1827 and never really recovered.

        Here is Jean Richafort’s, Requiem In Memorium: Josquin des Prez

        I have sung it many times in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. It does not sound like a wheel bearing!

      • Don Niperi Septo says:

        Here is that famous quote from the “Hades” section of Ulysses, the joke is an example of Joyce’s dry Dublin humour.

        Mr O’Connell shook all their hands in silence. Mr Dedalus said:

        —I am come to pay you another visit.

        —My dear Simon, the caretaker answered in a low voice. I don’t want your custom at all.

        Saluting Ned Lambert and John Henry Menton he walked on at Martin Cunningham’s side puzzling two long keys at his back.

        —Did you hear that one, he asked them, about Mulcahy from the Coombe?

        —I did not, Martin Cunningham said.

        They bent their silk hats in concert and Hynes inclined his ear. The caretaker hung his thumbs in the loops of his gold watchchain and spoke in a discreet tone to their vacant smiles.

        —They tell the story, he said, that two drunks came out here one foggy evening to look for the grave of a friend of theirs. They asked for Mulcahy from the Coombe and were told where he was buried. After traipsing about in the fog they found the grave sure enough. One of the drunks spelt out the name: Terence Mulcahy. The other drunk was blinking up at a statue of Our Saviour the widow had got put up.

        The caretaker blinked up at one of the sepulchres they passed. He resumed:

        —And, after blinking up at the sacred figure, Not a bloody bit like the man, says he. That’s not Mulcahy, says he, whoever done it.

        Rewarded by smiles he fell back and spoke with Corny Kelleher, accepting the dockets given him, turning them over and scanning them as he walked.

  • Furzwängler says:

    Dear Lord, what a horrible noise. I’ve heard better sounding air raid sirens.

  • Maria Beattie says:

    Laurence was also nominated for a 2017 Gramophone contemporary classical music award.

  • Hilary says:

    Inspired by one of the most cherished composers on the British New Music Scene, Laurence Crane composed a song called “New Music Weirdo”. An affectionate portrait of the composer, before he occupied the position he now has. Let’s hope it will be recorded!

  • John Borstlap says:

    When you think about it, it is insane to waste 60,000 pounds on someone who writes such incredibly silly and poor ‘music’ as demonstrated in the video. For that money you can have a truly rewarding chamber music concert with great music played by excellent players, including informative programme booklets and wardrobe personell.