Edward Gregson’s new work for Recorder and Piano, Aztec Dances, will be premiered at a Manchester Midday Concert at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on Wednesday 24th March at 1.05pm. The work will be premiered by Christopher Orton, who commissioned it with funds he was awarded by the BBC Performing Arts Fund. Christopher Orton is a young British recorder player who is already carving out a successful career for himself, having won international competitions and giving recitals both in the UK and abroad. The pianist will be Magdalena Nasidlak.

Aztec Dances is a 15 minute work, inspired by a visit the composer made to an exhibition at the British Musuem: Moctezuma – Aztec Ruler. Music played an important role in Aztec life, and was used in their many and varied rituals, including worship of the Gods and human sacrifice, but also in everyday life. Gregson has used this imagery to construct a four movement work: Ritual/Pastorale, Fertility Dance, Ghost Dance/Song, and Sacrificial Dance. The composer conjures up powerful images in a work that exploits both the virtuoso and lyrical aspects of the recorder. Both treble and tenor instruments are used in the work, as are some rather unusual instrumental techniques.