It was great fun to see some of the advertising that is being conducted around Ballet Cymru’s new production of Cinderella. The first performances in the Riverfront Theatre will be on the 8th and 9th of May this year. I notice that there is already 12 more venues around the country booked after this initial production! I have been composing the music from the end of last year and think that it will be quite an experience watching it set to ballet. If you are thinking of joining us for the performances my advice is to act quickly: Saturday night’s performance has nearly sold out already. If you go to http://welshballet.co.uk/productions/cinderella/ there is a complete list of performances with links to the tickets.
It has been a pleasure to work with the Welsh writer Rachel Trezise for the last project I undertook (www.racheltrezise.co.uk). I met Rachel when we both had pieces of work produced for the centenary of the Park and Dare theatre in Treorchy two years ago. The aim of the last project was to write a small collection of pieces using literature from Wales and Norway. Since I was setting a Norwegian folktale I thought it would be a nice counterpoint to work with a contemporary Welsh writer: and it was. Rachel took inspiration from a Norwegian folktale ‘The Cat on the Dovrefjell’, which in its simplest form is about trolls being scared away from a family home by a polar bear. What is beautiful and clever about the story that Rachel produced is the interweaving of this idea with a touching and intriguing snapshot of a scene in the life of a Welsh family. I recorded Rachel reading the text and then started working on a piece of music that would paint the scenes within it. The piece that was written was for solo vibraphone and electronics, performed at last week’s concert in the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay. If you click on the picture above, you will be taken directly to a recording of the piece on Soundcloud.
The start of March saw two concerts in Manchester and Cardiff with Norwegian Percussionists ‘The Pinquins’ (www.pinquins.no). This was exciting because it was the first time the group had performed in the UK, and also because I had three pieces premiered at the concerts. ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon’ is a folktale known throughout Scandinavia. I wrote a brief outline of my aims for the piece:
“Setting this Norwegian folktale I wanted to use the structure and imagery of the tale to give a sense of the main character’s journey. It was my intention to highlight the sexism common to many folktales of the past, and use it for dramatic effect within the work. I recorded the tale in English, Welsh and Norwegian and then worked out where these sounds would work best within the piece. I also used sounds gathered on my last trip to Iceland. At its simplest level it is a story about finding love. At its most complex it is about the importance of questioning your relationship to the world and asking difficult questions. To this effect I wanted to guide the audience through the work with textual cues, leaving space in the music and electronics to create the images in their own imagination.”
There are a few pictures from the concerts below, and if you click anywhere on them you should be taken to a recording of this piece on soundcloud. Or alternatively, follow the link on the ‘Music’ tab above.
The Pinquins, (left to right) Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen, Sigrun Rogstad Gomnæs and Johanne Byhring are pictured in the first image below. Two students pictured further down, Diogo Gomes and Hikaru Nakanishi from the RWCMD also premiered my piece ‘Cloc ar y dŵr’ (a setting of Menna Elfyn’s poetry), at the Cardiff concert.
I recently returned from Spectra Light Festival in Aberdeen. I had scored the soundtrack for Andrew Brooks’ Immersion film of Icelandic landscapes. The festival was very well attended and I felt proud (if not a little bit guilty because of the cold!) that people were queuing to watch the work in its entirety. I was pleased to meet some of the other artists at the festival in particular Ulf Mark Pedersen and Kathy Hinde (www.kathyhinde.co.uk), whose work you should definitely check out for its inventiveness and magic.
I have recently finishing working on the soundtrack to Andrew Brooks’ ‘Immersion’ film for Spectra Festival in Aberdeen – http://spectraaberdeen.com – I will be attending the festival (19th-22nd February) and look forward to seeing all the other exhibits there over the weekend.
This is photographer Andrew Brooks preparing a new film for the Spectra Festival of Light in Aberdeen next month (February, 19th-22nd). This film has been created for a 320° screen, the same that was used in last year’s Manchester Festival of Light’s ‘Immersion’ exhibit. I am sure that Andrew will take full advantage of shooting the film in Iceland during the winter. This season in particular yields some impressive and awe-inspiring views of the natural world. I will look forward to starting the soundtrack for this film soon and will keep you updated.
I am very excited to be able to start the publicity for my upcoming concert with The Pinquins! They will be performing in Manchester on the 3rd of March, and Cardiff on the 5th of March this year. I have been collaborating with the trio writing a piece for electroacoustics and percussion, inspired by the Norwegian folk tale ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon’. I have also been collaborating with brilliant Welsh writer Rachel Trezise, using her newly-commissioned short story ‘Good Friday’ as the basis for a piece for solo vibraphone and electroacoustics. We are also lucky enough to have Rachel join us for the concert and recite her work. As well as these two pieces, there is a third premiere in the form of a piece inspired by Menna Elfyn’s beautiful poem ‘Cloc ar y dŵr’. The Pinquins will also be performing a selection of their favourite contemporary pieces for percussion – so make sure you get your ticket soon! http://bit.ly/15g7gyb Click on the link to be taken to the ticket-purchase website.
The Enlighten Light Festival in Manchester in mid-December, despite an opening hampered by torrential weather, was a massive success. I produced a soundtrack to accompany ‘Immersion’ by Andrew Brooks (www.andrewbrooksphotography.com), which is a stunning 320º film of Manchester skylines and city scenes. We received a lot of commendation for the work and look forward to re-showing the work very soon. I will post more information about this soon, but in the meantime I have a sample of how the final setup looked on my Youtube channel. If you click on the photo above you will be taken directly to it.
I have just finished scoring a short film for the Enlighten Light Festival in Manchester 11th-14th December. The website for the festival is http://www.enlightenmanchester.co.uk – where you can see a video of the set-up of Andrew Brooks’ ‘Immersion’ which is designed to be shown on a 320º screen. Visitors will be invited to get a sense of the city from some of its highest towers and roof tops. It will surely be a unique experience alongside a host of other memorable exhibitions.
I have just returned from a productive trip to Norway, workshopping and recording samples for my new piece ‘East Of The Sun And West Of The Moon’. This piece will be premiered by Norwegian percussion group ‘The Pinquins’ in an upcoming concert in March next year – more details to follow. I will be announcing details of another exciting collaboration planned for this concert very soon!