Benedict Mason was born on 23 February 1954. He was educated at King's College Cambridge from 1971 to 1975 and took a degree in film-making at the Royal College of Art from 1975 to 1978. Mason turned to composition in his early 30s and his first acknowledged work, Hinterstoisser Traverse attracted attention from the European new music scene. Mason's earlier works are postmodern in inclination with considerable use of stylistic irony. Mason then developed an interest in polyrhythmic music and in works such as his Double Concerto one can hear a strong stylistic affinity to the later works of György Ligeti. More recent works have concentrated on the spatial dimension of music, such as in his Music for European Concert Halls series, and sometimes have come very close to installation art. Mason has composed in many genres and his football opera 'Playing Away', with a libretto by Howard Brenton, was commissioned by the Munich Biennale and premièred there in 1994 by Opera North. However, little of his music has been recorded as yet, though recordings of the orchestral piece Lighthouses of England and Wales and a collection including the Double Concerto, First String Quartet and the song-cycle Self-Referential Songs and Realistic Virelais both attracted very positive critical attention.
Composition timpani and percussion requirements
Marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, lead steel pan, caxixi, waterphone, bass bow, binsasara, cuica, claves, 4 temple blocks, gourd in water, rainmaker, udu pot, maracas, suspended cymbal, theatre lightning, cuckoo, kalimba, kalimbaphon, large tam tam, chocola
Trihorn, 11 pitched bells, schwirbogen, patum pipes, devil chaser
Concerto for the Viola Section
Timpani + 6 percussion
1 & 2) glockenspiel, vibraphone, triangle, tambourine, suspended cymbal, clash cymbals, bongos, congas, ref's whistle, wood block, vibaslap, whip, lead steel pan, alto steel pan, electric siren, 2 mouth sirens, almglocken C4-C5 (shared with players 3 & 4), rainmaker, 2 corrugated plastic tubes, 2 slide whistles, 2 small fishing reels, 3 & 4) 2 sets tubular bells, 2 flexatones, 2 marimbas, cabassa, tambourine, ratchet, suspended cymbal, Chinese cymbal, snare drum, 4 temple blocks, 3 tom toms, 2 octaves crotales, soft maracas, tam tam, alto steel pan, cello steel pan, 2 sirens, C3 bell plate, almglocken (shared with players 1 & 2), Thai gongs C#3, G#, A, Bb, Eb4, A, F), 2 corrugated plastic tubes, 2 slide whistles, fishing reel, 5 & 6) anvil, flexatone, orchestral bass drum, soft maracas, tam tam, xylophone, sleighbells, snare drum, timbales, low bongo, 2 log drums (3 pitches), bell plates A2 & C3, tambourine, castanets, vibraslap, sizzle cymbal, Chinese cymbal, cello steel pan, crotales G4, C5, E, F#, G, handbells C4-C7, Thai gongs C#4, A, Bb, A5, 2 sirens, 2 corrugated plastic tubes, fishing reel, 2 slide whistles