Hello everyone Now we've stepped into the new year, I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to my concert season last year. I'll avoid an Oscar-type blub, but I'm touched that there are still such different ways that art is created, by so many.
Please accept this cat as a token of thanks, and know that I had a lot of help from my mum (who had help from her mum).
It's rare when museums not only conserve artefacts, but celebrate innovative live art - so thank you to the volunteers, sponsors and staff.
I collaborated with many artists for the first time, and was lucky to be introduced to them by either the LSO, Resonance FM, or Serious Take Five (with the exception of my sister, who was introduced to me by the NHS).
Lastly but not ghastly, the thing which filled me with hope and happiness during the series was the truly diverse audiences, and the inspiring world-premières by some of the best composers I know.
If you found this post too sickly sweet, stick with my blog anyway, I get more bitter as the year wears on ;)
For two Thursdays and two Sundays in October, Handel House will be filled with DUELLING. I'm sure Jimi and George would approve.
I've got us a MEGA-line-up...
CREWDSON (Matthew Herbert), CHRIS MONTAGUE (Troyka), MANU DELAGO (Björk), DAVID WRIGHT (Red Priest), TOM NORRIS (LSO), GREGOR RIDDELL (Solstice String 4tet), ELLIE FAGG, RAYMOND YIU, RICHARD BULLEN, ROBERT SZYMANEK, NINA HORROCKS-HOPAYIAN and more TBA...
produced with Handel House Museum, LSO SOUNDHUB & TRUDI STEVENS
Tickets: £9, £5 students
Booking line: 020 7399 1953
ELLIE FAGG & TOM NORRIS
Thursday 17 October, 6.30-7.30pm
Ellie and Tom are astounding violinists who perform across the world with the LSO, Puertas Quartet and Living Room London. They are also husband and wife. With a programme exploring the balance and infinity of ground bass, a duet may become a duel. I'll be there with voice and harp to mediate and agitate.
LSO Soundhub composer feature : Richard Bullen
Thursday 17 October
He is a master of making use of performance space to heighten
perception of sound, structure and the drama inherent in the musical
material. He is writing a piece especially for us in the spacial acoustics of Handel House.
CREWDSON Sunday 20 October, 2-4pm
Hugh ‘Crewdson’ Jones is a prolific inventor and who performs with Matthew Herbert. He has created an electronic concertina inspired by the subtlety of acoustic folk instruments. The ‘Concertronica’ will sample and manipulate my harp to create modern British folk songs. The duel of electronics and acoustics will be so entangled, you will not know where one ends and the other begins. His exquisite inventions will be exhibited on the same day, with an interactive demo from the maestro himself.
LSO Soundhub composer feature : Robert Szymanek
Sunday 20 October
He's a composer, singer, songwriter and producer with a thirst for the eclectic. He's creating something especially for this event, and at present it's TOP SECRET!
Thursday 24 October, 6.30-7.30pm
Chris (of Troyka) is a virtuosic guitarist described by Jazzwise as ‘one of the most imaginatively skilled young axesmiths on the London scene’. In this concert, he will battle blues, Baroque and memories and emotions will be captured in ‘Pandora’s music box’ (which I'm making).
THE EVE OF BATTLE Oratorio feat. MANU DELAGO Sunday 27 October, 2-4pm
What if Eve were a codebreaker, who resurfaces throughout time, with different names, different faces? A duel of storytellers in music, eager to claim their version of Eve as the best: Björk’s percussionist Manu Delago versus Red Priest’s harpsichordist David Wright; Cellist Gregor Riddell against Bel Canto singer Nina Horrocks-Hopayian. Accounts of Persephone, Pandora, and even Alan Turing may become ammunition. For the first time, this duel pits one of the newest instruments, the hang (and its leading virtuoso) against Handel’s weapon of choice. Whose tale will triumph? The Eve of Battle is a world-première commissioned by Handel House.
LSO Soundhub composer feature : Raymond Yiu Sunday 27 October
It's such an honour that this award-winning composer it writing especially for my collaborative oratorio. He'll create a cello piece for Chang'e, the Chinese moon goddess, to form one of the Eve tales in our battle.
Tickets: £9, £5 students | Booking Line: 020 7399 1953
Here I am! I've had a packed few months at Handel House. I'm planning my concert series in October, and my commission in June, but so far, I've been creating learning projects. With some talented children from RNIB, we created an ode to Handel House, drawing inspiration from court composers from across the globe, and their practice of dedicating work. Handel himself was blind at the end of his life, so it was truly inspiring to experience sound more intensely with such young masters. To contextualise, I performed a planxty by O'Carolan (a blind harper, and contemporary of Handel), and 'Kamantcha', an ode to a 'spike fiddle' by Sayat Nova, an 18th century Armenian composer to the Georgian court. His song beautifully concludes : 'the fiddle relies on Sayat Nova for its voice, while Sayat Nova relies on the fiddle for his sight'.
During the London Handel Festival in March, Hillyfield Primary School helped me 'improve' Handel's opera Imeneo, by writing a pirate copy. We enjoyed the original, but the children were not convinced that Rosmene should be married off in the name of duty. We constructed a libretto set on the pirate ship from Handel's opera, and the First Mate found herself in a similar battle of heart and duty to that of poor Rosmene : torn between the mutineering crew, and her selfish Pirate Captain. The children insisted that the First Mate followed her 'moral compass', and the Pirate King saw the error in his ways. The role of Pirate King was owned by the charismatic Luke D Williams – none other than Imeneo in the London Handel Festival. He gave us a vocal masterclass about baritone range, and the bits of opera that singers love – arias, chorus numbers, etc. The children (or terrifying mutineers) then developed a new style of recitative using their own musical language, which included a rap battle, with much shouting and kissing of teeth. The performance was an instant hit with the rest of the school and the pirates' parents.
I will be sending out a little vlog from Handel's room each week, with news of my music series, compositions, and answering any requests. I might even sing something at the harpsichord, if you like.
So anything you want to know, see, hear, discuss : get in touch here, on youtube, Facebook, twitter – whatever floats your boat.