Anyone who has followed my work for a while may remember that I have collaborated on occasion in cross-discipline projects bringing music and visuals together. Fifteen Images was the first of these projects in 2010, which resulted in a kind of graphic score based on colours and textures from a garden, which the performer could use for improvisation (along with defined ‘tonalities’ and a conventional score). This week sees the first performance of a group of works called Fresh Yorkshire Aires. Four different composers/artists have produced graphic scores to be performed by piano duet.
Mapping Yorkshire, with composer Nigel Morgan, takes photographs from four locations in Yorkshire as starting points for our four scores. You can find out more about the scores we produced here. All the Fresh Yorkshire Aires scores are on show in Leeds 14-17th June and the first performance is on Thursday 16th June in the gallery. Later in the month the scores and performance will be in Sheffield. Information and tickets to the performances are available at Fresh Yorkshire Aires.
You can now hear some of the music that was composed for my Gifts from the Pavement exhibition for Saltaire Arts Trail in May. Composer Nigel Morgan wrote a series of miniature pieces in response to my prints. These were performed by the award winning jazz pianist Matt Robinson and a taster of those is now available here. Matt will be recording an album of these along with other works written for him by Nigel as part of an on-going collaboration.
You may have noticed that there are new links appearing on the right hand side of the page at the moment. I’m in a period of starting projects that have been in various stages of planning for some time.
I’ve been involved in the interdisciplinary group Textiles & Music Interact since 2009, when we created and first performed/showed the work Fifteen Images. We are now developing our third project, Remembering Britten. We’ve set up the blog to record the development of the project. This provides a way for the members of the group to share developments as well as forming an archive and information point for anyone interested in finding out about our work and following it.
After my final deadline a week or so ago I had a little time away as a bit of a treat. It was a very fleeting visit to Suffolk, but absolutely worth the long drive to get there and packed full of sensory delights.
The main reason for going was to hear this amazing ensemble perform at the Aldeburgh Festival. Not only are this group technically brilliant I love their ethos: they are passionate about playing music in the absolutely best way they can, coming together to work intensively on one piece at a time, performing one piece only and without a conductor. They spoiled the one-work-thing a little by playing an encore (beautifully!) but they obviously feel huge pressure from venues and audiences to conform to the conventions of performance that we have. The courage at takes to perform one work only is similar to that needed to show one work only in an exhibition. This isn’t what people expect – they want as much as they can get for their money, but if it is about quality rather than quantity then the result can be so much more affecting.
It was a very moving performance. This group have to communicate with each other in the way that a quartet would, but there are 35 of them. They know each other’s parts inside out as well as their own. Without the barrier of a conductor standing with their back to the audience the concert felt like such a completely shared experience between players and audience – really something very special.
The evening before we stumbled upon this intriguing place, where the instrument workshop is open to the street and all the violin maker’s tools were on view. We peered through the windows at the strange bits and pieces: clamps and planes, partly carved shapes, bottles of varnish – a hive of craftsmanship left for the night.
And then there were various other interesting shops to peer into…
There were reed warblers in the reed bed that Snape concert hall sits next to and that this Family of Man looks out over, warbling away and flitting between the raindrop bejeweled stems.
And as for the beach at Aldeburgh, which in many ways was reminiscent of Dungeness (it even has a nuclear power station within view) but not nearly as barren and strange, well there just wasn’t enough time to take it all properly… I’ll just have to go back again.
Concert listening: Beethoven’s 4th Symphony
For anyone within easy reach of Plymouth on Tuesday 5th April there will be a performance of a new duet version (for jazz piano and trombone) of Fifteen Images at Plymouth Art gallery. Details here and here. This afternoon performance will take place following a lunchtime lecture by curator Helen Carnac in which she will discuss some of the ideas behind the Taking Time exhibition, to which Fifteen Images is currently linked at Plymouth.
This will be the first performance of the duet version and will feature Matt Robinson and Kieran McLeod, both of the Royal Academy of Music. Sadly I won’t be able to be there but if any readers do make it I’d be interested to hear what you think…
After yesterday’s lecture (which was thankfully well-recieved despite a smaller than hoped for audience. The picture shows setting up – there weren’t this many empty seats!) and very successful performance by Matt Robinson of 15 Images I could relax a little.
It was strange seeing my animated images so large – this is the biggest yet. It really made for a completely immersive experience in the dark lecture theatre with comfy seats that you could relax into.
It was lovely to have a little time to go back over the road to the Museum and Art Gallery and see the Taking Time exhibition completed. I re-aquainted myself with Sue Lawty’s tiny stones, added a bit to the web of threads that invites additions, marvelled at Heidrun Schimmel’s stitches and admired Matthew Harris’s subtle textures. There will always be a textile bias for me I guess but there is so much else in this exhibition not mentioned specifically here that I really appreciate seeing for a second time. There is an entry on the Craftspace Taking Time blog about the Plymouth exhibition by Craftspace’s Emma Daker.
Now, I thought 15 Images was fairly experimental but some of the other performances in the Peninsular Arts Contemporary Music Festival so far have been wierd and wonderful to my inexperienced ears!
Current listening: deconstructed pianos, earworms, wine bottle blowing, radioactive particles and cloud chambers…