Fragile Light Premiere

Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jahja Ling, Gil Shaham and David Bruce

Just back from a thrilling world premiere of my Violin Concerto Fragile Violin with Gil Shaham and San Diego Symphony under Jahja Ling. What can I say about Gil, he is everything everyone says he is - the most charming, humble and sweet man, combined with the most extraordinary musicianship and tone. I was shocked when I spoke with him on FaceTime (v.21st Century) a few weeks beforehand to realise that he basically had the whole piece off by memory. In the end, he did take the music on stage for the performances, but several times I saw him turn several pages in a row as he'd clearly not been looking at it. That kind of committment from somebody as in-demand as him really tells you something about the man.

As with the previous performances of Night Parade and Cymbeline, the orchestra showed a genuine excitement and enthusiasm to tackle a new work, with a great readiness to take on board suggestions, and a willingness to accept my endless 'tweaks' up to and even beyond the premiere. They gave a tremendous performance, and I'm really happy with the finished piece, which I think may be one of my best yet.

The 'white noise' which I mentioned in my previous post forms the very end of the piece, and although it seems to have a certain 'shock factor' at first (Gil himself asked if he could play it on harmonics until I insisted this was the effect I was after), it really is quite gripping in the closing stages of the piece to hear the music drift higher and higher, higher than you think can be humanly possible. In all three performance I literally felt myself stop breathing at this point as it gets so quiet and so high you daren't move a muscle. Note to self to take more 'risks' like this in future pieces.

There were some great responses in the press, and I particularly enjoyed this wonderfully eccentric reviewer who seemed to have some kind of life-changing experience during the piece, which is very gratifying.

Now back to opera work, of which, more very soon....



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