I have been an admirer of Hobbs’s music for some 25 years now. He is always creating music which is subversive – as do Laurence Crance, Gavin Bryars and John White – but yet speaks directly to the listener. As a performer he’s had a very busy career, performing in a piano duo, as well as founding the duo Live Batts!, with John White. He is a founder member of the Scratch Orchestra, the Promenade Theatre Orchestra and the Hartzell Hilton Band. I lost contact with Hobbs’s work after the premiere of the large-scale chamber piece No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again
at the ICA in 1998. Recently I bought some CDs from him of some recent pieces, including Sudoku Music (2 CDs – EMC104). This latter is well worth tracking down. It can be bought from http://www.experimentalmusic.co.uk/Experimental_Music_Catalogue/Home.html
This CD single comprises an arrangement for eight pianos, multi-tracked by Pezzone, of a work which is a perfect example of Hobbs’s music. It’s hypnotic, beautiful, non-aggressive, and it just seems to hang in the air, the music filling all the space around you. Hobbs’s Second String Quartet
has the same feeling to it – why isn’t this played regularly? There is a feeling of West Coast transcendentalism about this performance. That’s not a criticism, it’s simply that there is more of a “laid-back” feel to this performance than I was expecting. For me, 19 minutes isn’t enough but it’s a fabulous taster for Hobbs’s music. It is to be hoped that it will help new listeners to get to grips with one of this country’s more elusive composers, one who is quietly working away at his art and only occasionally letting it out to the public. At least that is how it seems.
Buy this and love it for it is very special music. It lives long in the brain after the disk has stopped playing.