I’m very pleased to have received the George Butterworth Award 2007, together with composer Claudia Molitor. The award is made by the artistic director of the spnm for new compositions which make ‘an outstanding contribution to the the year’s programme’. Three of my works were cited: Music for Strings and Hammers (for six pianos), Endlessly Enmeshed composed for the Jai Hind project, combining Indian and Western European instruments and players, and A Sudden Cartography of Song, a video-opera composed in collaboration with Alistair Appleton and premiered at this year’s Spitalfields Festival. These have all been exciting projects for me and offered valuable experiences, so I’m delighted to have been able to work with the spnm this year and to have been chosen for the award.
This unusual project brings together renowned musicians from the Indian classical and Western classical traditions into a mixed ensemble. First up are Aruna Narayan and Hanif Khan, renowned players of the many-stringed and searingly soulful sarangi, and the tabla, magical drums of extraordinarily liquid sound. They are joined by four fantastic players from the Endymion Ensemble, on cello, harp, piano and percussion: Adrian Bradbury, Helen Tunstall, Stephen Gutman and Richard Benjafield. Along with several other composers I have written a piece for this most unusual of sextets. It’s been a fascinating process, not so much because of the combination of instruments (though they are fascinating) as the combination of radically different approaches to music-making, and the concepts of piece, score, and composer.
My piece is called Endlessly enmeshed. I wanted to let the six instruments to weave their sounds together without losing their own distinct character, even when this leads them up quite divergent paths. The title comes from a poem by Rabindranath Tagore: ‘thou hast made my heart captive in the endless meshes of thy music’.
The pieces are being performed three times, in Southampton, Cardiff and London, on May 22, 25 and 26; for full details see Jai Hind!
Music by Jeremy Thurlow