The Eurovision Cadence Contest

The melodic arch and the harmonic full stop of the so-called English Cadence make a devastating couple – they tell two sides of a story that stretches back into mediaeval France and converges under the piercing gaze of today’s analytical age.  But, hey, what’s an English Cadence anyway?  Most musical dictionaries won’t tell you and most musicians aren’t quite sure, but it’s got something to do with sharps and flats.  There’s an inherent musical contradiction in the English Cadence to do with the ancient system of modes and their gradual erosion into the major/minor keys.  This ambiguity has acquired an emotional significance defying traditional notions of historical progress to resonate on the heartstrings of most musicians, especially English ones.  In this rollercoaster ride through over 500 years of high and low notes, black and white notes, gut-wrenching blue notes and plain old wrong notes, Jeremy Summerly exposes the English Cadence for what it really is: not originally English, and not always a cadence.  With their hearts in their mouths are John Butt, David Huron, Bayan Northcott, Sinan Savaskan, Paul Webster and a cast of dozens, plus cameo performances by Nadia Boulanger, Kathryn Oswald and Geoffrey Smith.  Directed and produced by Antony Pitts.