Posts Tagged ‘choral’

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Ouija, Celadon, Messiaen, Magnificat, Slow Tide II

April 8, 2012

This is a quick news post with dates of some upcoming performances:

First up, Celadon will be played in two concerts given by the distinguished Korean musicians Kyung Sung Cho, Hyo Young Kim and Seungmi Suh during their visit to Cambridge this month – at 5.30pm on Wednesday 25 April in the Recital Room, University Faculty of Music (West Rd), and on Saturday April 28 at 5.00pm in Robinson College Chapel.

Next, I’m writing and presenting a programme in BBC Radio 3’s long-running Saturday morning series Building a Library on Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie; it’ll be broadcast on Saturday May 26th at about 9.30am.

Ouija will receive its first performance at 8pm on May 23 in Sidney Sussex Chapel, in a recital by Peter Sheppard Skaerved which also includes the premiere of Sonata Sospesa by Poul Ruders, and Bach’s G minor sonata and D minor Partita.  Full details and tickets available from Cambridge Summer Music Festival.  This is the piece conceived as a kind of séance, in which the violinist seeks to communicate with unseen spirits (see two earlier posts here and here).  Sidney Sussex Chapel will be a wonderfully atmospheric setting.

There will be further performances of Ouija at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford on November 2nd, and in London (details still tbc).

Later that week Gonville & Caius Choir, with senior organ scholar Annie Lydford and their director Geoffrey Webber, will give the second performance of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis I wrote for them (the Caius Service) – this is on Sunday 27 May at 6pm in Gonville and Caius Chapel.

And in June I will be giving a concert in Bonn, which includes performances of a newly revised version of A Sense of Touch (originally for four pianos: here in its alternative version for two pianos and tape) and the first performance of Slow Tide II.  This is a rethinking of the music of Slow Tide, a piece for two pianos and two percussionists, keeping most of the harmonic and melodic material, but radically rethinking the sonority and texture, and recasting the piece for piano, MIDI keyboard and tape.  The sounds of the MIDI keyboard and the tape are being realised by Jo Snape in The Hague.  The programme will also include more of my piano music.   This is on Tuesday June 12th in the Schumannhaus, Bonn, with the support of the Institut Français.

[Image: Celadon ceramic art, Korea]

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BBC singers – concert details

July 19, 2007

I’ve now got the full details for the BBC singers concert mentioned in my last post, about my Emily Dickinson piece – it’s on Wednesday 25th July at 6pm, will last about an hour.
Tickets are free, and can be reserved in advance, by phone or online. Click here for full details. The programme consists entirely of new pieces written for the occasion, by Phil Venables, Elizabeth Winters, Anthony Bailey, Evangelia Rigaki, Oliver Waespi and myself.

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BBC Singers go to sea…

July 2, 2007

Some poems by Emily Dickinson I love; others I find dangerously close to twee.  I’ve never thought of setting them to music before, and this is probably because of Copland’s wonderful song settings; I suppose I was afraid it would be impossible to put them out of my mind and find a fresh approach.   However, last year I came across a poem I’d not seen before, and was bewitched by it.  This was at the memorial service for a wonderful friend called Jo Campling – it had been a favourite poem of hers, and was read at the service.  It begins

Exultation is the going  / Of an inland soul to sea – /  Past the houses, past the headlands,  / Into deep Eternity. 

Shortly after this I was given the opportunity to write a new piece for the BBC Singers.  I knew immediately that I wanted to set this visionary poem about courage in the face of the unknown, and death.  I wrote the first couple of minutes’ music in December, and then had to leave it for other more urgent deadlines, but was able to go back and finish the piece last month.  The BBC Singers will give the premiere in St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, in a concert of new music conducted by James Morgan.  I’m really looking forward to working with this fantastic group and hearing the music for the first time.  

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maps, songs and babies

June 12, 2007

Last week was a fury of activity putting together all the ingredients for a double-bill of new multi-media pieces devised in collaboration with writer Alistair Appleton – one by Tazul Tajuddin, and one by me. The two pieces were performed on Saturday night in Wilton’s Music Hall – a wonderful Victorian theatre which has been preserved in its original decor, somewhat faded but all the more atmospheric for that, and with a beautiful acoustic. Both tazul’s and my own piece shared the same basic format: new texts spoken and written by Alistair – an artful balance of factual documentary and personal reminiscence, wonderfully designed so as to be able to work with music, rather than just be spoken over it – together with a specially composed video (ditto; also created by Alistair) and the same musical forces (4 singers and live electronics). But beyond those common elements, our two pieces were completely different, and that made for an exciting programme. Both performances went extremely well, and the feeling of absolute attention from the audience was magical.

Alistair has written in his blog about what it felt like better than I can, and there’s also a very sympathetic review by Ivan Hewett in the Telegraph, who seems to have grasped exactly what it was that we were trying to do. It must be said that a great deal of dedicated work went into making it happen, and I’d like to thank all those involved: especially the four singers (named in the previous post below), the conductor George Corbett, the electro-acoustic wizard Daniel Halford, who took several decades off his life expectancy by working 29/7 in the weeks running up to the show, and Alistair – all of whom gave zinging performances. And many thanks too for essential behind-the-scenes work from all those at spnm and Wilton’s.

Maps, songs and babies were some of the themes of the piece, by the way (also, signing, birds, words…). It’s hard to explain without actually seeing and hearing the show, but a glance at Alistair’s text may help.

Music by Jeremy Thurlow

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words and birds

May 10, 2007

I’ve recently been collaborating on a new piece with Alistair Appleton, the blog-writer and TV presenter. Called A sudden cartography of song, it’s a combination of music, words and video. Alistair will join four singers on stage in front of a large video projection, in the wonderfully atmospheric setting of Wilton’s Music Hall. The piece is about 20 minutes long and follows a thought-provoking and surprising journey from a summer afternoon through a meditation on maps and on the wonders of sign language, ending with Alistair’s strange and haunting vision of utopia. It’s all voices: Alistair speaks, the music is entirely sung, and at times the singers’ voices are transformed or augmented with real-time electro-acoustic processing. It’s been fantastic fun collaborating with Alistair on the writing, and now I’m looking forward to working with the singers and the sound-engineer to make it all a reality.

A sudden cartography of song will be presented at 9pm on Saturday 9 June in Wilton’s Music Hall, London as part of the Spitalfields Festival, together with a new work by Tazul Tajuddin.
– Ildiko Allen, soprano; – Frances Jellard, mezzo-soprano
– Julian Stoker, tenor; – Edward Grint, bass
– Daniel Halford, live electronics; – Alistair Appleton, speaker/video

Together with A Terrace in Corsica at 7 the same evening, these events are part of spnm’s SECOND SIGHT series; artistic Director: Rolf Hind.
Box office: 020 7377 1362 Tickets: £17.50 for both events, £10 per event (£5 spnm members)

For more details see spitalfields festival

Music by Jeremy Thurlow

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Christmas in Hong Kong

December 16, 2006

I’ve just heard that some of my music will be broadcast on Christmas morning on Hong Kong Radio. That’s definitely a first for me! The piece in question is Of noblest cities, which is a setting for choir and organ of an ancient poetic meditation on the story of the three wise men.
Music by Jeremy Thurlow

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BBC Singers

November 12, 2006

I’ve been asked to write a new piece for the BBC singers, to be developed in workshops and rehearsals over the next six months and then premiered in July next year. The starting point for my piece is a poem by Emily Dickinson, which begins

Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea

I think they’re wonderful words, vividly conveying the exhilaration of a great challenge, and at the same time, courage in the face of mortality. For me, 24 strong, vibrant voices is absolutely the perfect medium in which to set these words to music, and I’m really looking forward to working with the singers on the piece.

Music by Jeremy Thurlow