Posted by: superadmin | 20 October 2009 - 4:42am

Charity Concert for "Marginalised" at Union Chapel, Islington, London

This was the first time that I have performed Jesus' Blood with my own ensemble in London since 1993, and the first time I have played it at all with them since Brussels in 1997. This concert opened a week long series of concerts in aid of the charity Marginalised, and for it I invited many former members of my ensemble and other friends to form a larger group than usual - here around 26 performers. For the first part we did more recent pieces with a smaller group - John Potter, tenor, singing a series of Laude and a group of Irish Madrigals (setting of John Millington Synge's Petrarch translations) as well as the instrumental piece, The Flower of Friendship, for electric guitar, viola, cello, and double bass that was premiered in York in February and which I have now played several times (Waterford, Limerick, Mexico City). With Jesus' Blood my eldest daughters sang with John to form a small choir - the first time that I've done this. This isn't the first time that they have played the piece though - at a benefit concert for LaMonte Young in 1997 they both played cello, along with members of Pulp (and I played piano for Pulp when Jarvis Cocker performed This is Hardcore)… (All four of my children had played The Sinking of the Titanic with me at the Roundhouse, London in May).

See Photos from the performance in the Photo Gallery.

Posted by: Gavin | 14 October 2009 - 5:00am

Singer Pur, Villa I Tatti, Florence, Italy

I had written a madrigal (Book Four no.1) for the Villa I Tatti (The Harvard Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies) in 2004 and I was asked to write some pieces in memory of Craig Hugh Smyth, a former director, in whose name a new library was being opened. I wrote four pieces, two by Petrarch and one each by Bronzino (Craig Smyth's specialism) and Battiferri. It was good to have the chance at last to work with Singer Pur, who have sung pieces of mine before. We have been trying to get together for some time and this was the ideal opportunity.

Photo: Giovanni Trambusti

Posted by: Gavin | 3 October 2009 - 5:35pm

Leeds Lieder+, The Venue, Leeds
I had been commissioned to write four songs for the Leeds biennial lieder festival, Leeds Lieder+, and I set four poems by the Scottish poet George Bruce, whose work I have now set a number of times. The programme was curious in that it included works by Vaughan Williams, Gurney and others from the English "pastoral school" whose work has never interested me very much. I attended the concert where the performers, tenor James Gilchrist and pianist Julius Drake (who is artistic director of the festival) were absolutely terrific.