Monthly Archive: November 2009

Gumboots in Berko

Posted on Monday, November 30, 2009

In the run up to Christmas, the wonderful Chroma are putting on a great children's concert in Berkhamsted on Dec 18th called Gypsies and Dancers featuring excerpts from my Clarinet Quintet Gumboots, a storyteller and lots more fun. Then in the evening they will perform the full Gumboots, alongside Golijov's crazy, tender and divine 'Dreams and Prayers' - I think this is my first candelit performance! So anyone in the home counties to the North of London please come and enjoy this wonderful group! Details below.

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Tasks in hand

Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009

A few tasks in hand:

  • I mentioned recently that I have of late been granted the great pleasure and thrill of working with Giora Feidman. After working on a number of smaller arrangements together, Giora has now given me the even greater honour of asking for a piece for him to perform and record with Vladimir Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi (above).

  • At the same time the delightful Bruce Levingston has commisisoned a new piano piece which he will premiere in New York some time next season.

  • As if that weren't more than enough, I'm still fighting with libretti, and hope to have more news on the development of a new chamber opera fairly soon...

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    Tattered rags

    Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Having been through several opera ideas recently before eventually discarding them, the process seems to be something along these lines:

    1. Take a large old black tattered rag.
    2. Your opera subject is hidden behind it. You can make out little details here and there.
    3. You must stare at the rag with an enormous intensity and try to get it to catch fire.
    4. If you're lucky, and after an awful lot of intense staring, little fragments of the cloth burn away. If you're really lucky, eventually the whole thing catches fire, the tattered rag burns away completely and the whole opera subject lies before you, view unhindered.
    5. If you're not so lucky, however hard you stare the holes just glow red, a brief puff of smoke, and out. The holes don't get any larger, the opera as inaccessible as before, despite all your efforts. Eventually you realise this rag ain't gonna to light. You are forced to abandon it.

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