'Still Point' article in FACT

Still Point at St. John's Smith Square, June 2016. Photograph: Alice the Camera

"The success of the performance at St John’s Smith Square is palpable, and Feshareki and Bulley’s achievement is huge, but whether ‘Still Point’ becomes canonical is anyone’s guess. The material is certainly there – the duo have been meticulous in their documentation, collating notation, Oram’s and Davies’ writing and orchestral instruction onto a single score – but it remains singular, without clear successors. The muffled, hypnagogic records of Indignant Senility or The Caretaker might be the closest in actual sound, but certainly not in spirit. Both have incorporated repurposed and anaesthetised classical passages in their music – Wagner for the former, myriad Romantic piano pieces for the latter – but these are used for textural and nostalgic effect. Oram’s score, on the other hand, was entirely original, and her specific manipulations tied into a loftier artistic ethos.
But the mere recognition of the piece feels just as crucial. Oram must have felt intense frustration in 1949, knowing that she had produced a radical work. It predated both the concrète proto-sampling of Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (of whom Oram was vaguely aware at the time) and the purer electronics of Stockhausen and the Cologne School (of whom she was not) in its use of sampling, recording and electronic manipulation. In Britain, where Benjamin Britten and Vaughan Williams represented the apex of experimentation, Oram’s leaps of ambition were especially unprecedented."

The full article can be read here