‘From the Sublime to the Ridiculous’

COVID-19 lockdown has been a hectic and strange time for all of us. I’ve not been massively creative, with a lot of my gigs and activities being cancelled, and a busy time working at the University of Southampton.

However, the fantastic pianist Duncan Honeybourne (and my colleague at Southampton) approached me to see if I’d like to write a short piece for his Contemporary Piano Soundbites series. From the Sublime to the Ridiculous is what came out…

Excited that Duncan is recording a bunch of these pieces for a CD later this year.

BLAST

At last year’s Cohan Collective Dance Residency I worked with choreographer Joshua Ben-Tovim and composer Hollie Harding on a new work Enemy of the Stars. A BBC New Creatives film, BLAST, directed by Roseanna Anderson and Josh (http://impermanence.co.uk/), emerged from this collaboration. The film was inspired by the Vorticist journal – BLAST – which was edited by Wyndham Lewis. The journal included short stories, numerous illustrations, poems and a manifesto signed by 11 artists including Ezra Pound and Gaudier Brzeska. Hollie and I worked together to create the music for the film from musical materials we developed last summer.

The film evokes the pulsing energy of early modernist Britain with its experiments in form and desire to manifest a utopian future. We sit alongside a female audience and follow an artist, two dancers and two lovers, with the heavy shadow of retrospect, knowing the carnage and decimation that was to follow this remarkable period of productivity.

In the Alps

I had blast directing the Hartley Loop Orchestra in a major University of Southampton Music Department project at Turner Sims, IN THE ALPS. We performed Richard Ayres’ masterpiece No 42. (In the Alps: an animated concert) featuring soprano Juliet Fraser (wearing an amazing garment made by students at Winchester School of Art), as well as Carnival of the Animals with soloists David Owen Norris and Verity Brooks and a brand new work, Shadows, by Zoe Sones. Was fantastic to work so closely with Southampton students and colleagues on the project and Juliet was AMAZING. Here are some pics by the massively talented Ash Sealy and a short audio excerpt.

eavesdropping.london Β· Juliet Fraser sings Richard Ayres ‘No. 42 β€” In the Alps’ (extract)

The Driver

Terrific workshop last week with Riot Ensemble for my collaboration with poet Luke Wright. Exciting to be putting stuff together and making plans for a tour, hopefully in 2021.

Here’s a taster of the poetry:

Is this how it ends for all of us?
love born at festivals
in chemicals and poetry
love that lived beyond our bodies
love that conquered motorways and calendars
love that conquered half of England
is this how it ends?

from The Driver, by Luke Wright

More info and some taster audio on the Riot Ensemble website: http://riotensemble.com/the-driver/