Monthly Archive: Febuary 2007

Tuwim in New York

Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2007

During my attempts to secure the copyright approval on Polish poet Julian Tuwim's texts for my song-cycle Piosenki, I had several email discussions (sometimes via my wife, sometimes in the best Polish I could muster myself) with Tuwim's daughter, who runs his foundation today. I sent her some extracts of my piece that we workshopped in New York last Novemeber, and how lovely it was to receive this note from her:

"Ciesze sie ze wiersze mojego ojca beda wykonywane z piekna muzyka w Nowym Yorku, gdzie mieszkal w czasie wojny i gdzie jego tworczosc znana byl tylko polskim emigrantom."

Or for the non-Polish speakers amongst you :

"I am happy that my fathers poems will be performed with beautiful music in New York, where he lived during the war, and where his work was known only amongst Polish emigrates."

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Residency with Kuss Quartet

Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007

The Kuss Quartet

I'm very happy to have been chosen for the 4x4 Composer Residency at the Lake District Summer Music Festival with the Kuss Quartet this May. This will be a good chance to work on my string writing technique, which I've been meaning to do for a while now. Hopefully it will result in new piece for what is one of the most challenging of mediums.

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Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Berimbau is a great instrument from Brazil. It has a raspy, earthy sound and can produce some great rhythms which oscilate between a buzz sound and two pitched sounds - the open string sound and the 'stopped sound'.

Here's a couple of guys busking with their Berimbau's. I particular like the way the end is not the definitive bang you might expect, but a kind of shuffle-to-fade.

More about the Berimbau on Wikipedia

Update: I have written a piano piece inspired by the berimbau which you can read about here

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Joining the myspace crowd

Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2007

I know quite a few musicians who've sent me details of their myspace page. Although I've never understood how something so horribly designed can be so popular, the fact that everyone's on it these days gives it a real sense of purpose, particularly as an initial contact with people you don't know so well. So I figure if you can't beat 'em:

I've put a couple of new sample tracks and a link to a video extract from Push! up there.

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New piece

Posted on Thursday, February 1, 2007

Julian Tuwim

Having finally cleared the copyright on the text I'm using with the Fundacja Juliana Tuwima, I can now officially declare my new song cycle for soprano, baritone and ensemble finished. You can read more about it here. The premiere is in April at Carnegie Hall, but I'm happy to let people have a copy of the score in advance - just get in touch.

It's quite a brave new step for me this piece, but I think it should be a lot of fun, not least because it uses two of the techniques I've been talking about on the passions blog

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