This is a picture of me working with the South Iceland Chamber Choir, experimenting with their layout for my up-coming piece in London. My idea is that the choir’s formation and sound should be linked. The choir will represent the physical formation of water and the audience will witness their transformation from solid, to liquid, then to gas. I will be using texts in Icelandic, Welsh and English for this piece. The principal that I am most keen to explore is that the choir’s movement controls the types of sounds we hear: the choir will need to articulate their transformation sonically as well as physically. More photos from this day can be found here.
I am so thrilled to be able to share a wonderful recording of The South Iceland Chamber Choir performing ‘Islands (Ynysoedd)’ at their recent concert. I need to say a big thank you to Brian FitzGibbon and Árni Möller for this, in addition to Hilmar Örn Agnarsson, Björg Þórhallsdóttir, and the SICC.
On Tuesday 21st this week, the South Iceland Chamber Choir (or Kammerkór Suðurlands to those fluent in Icelandic) performed my piece Islands/Ynysoedd at a concert in Reykjavik. I believe the concert was to promote a new CD which the choir has just released, more details to follow…
From the 16th of June to the 19th I was in Umeå, Sweden. During 2014 Umeå is the European Capital of Culture. The European Choral Festival, which was held here, invited the SICC (South Iceland Chamber Choir) to perform. The choir are pictured above performing ‘Islands (Ynysoedd)’ in the Opera House in Umeå. This concert was recorded for the Swedish classical music station P2, and required a short break to accommodate moving the microphones to capture this unconventional piece. The audience responded well to both the choir and their choice of programme. The festival was very well organised and the staff were helpful and friendly. Most of the choirs were being hosted in the same hotel, so after the concerts the spontaneous entertainment often included bar-side sing-alongs! It was a pleasure to attend such a welcoming event.
Earlier this week I watched my piece ‘Islands (Ynysoedd)’ being performed in Salisbury Arts Festival. This was the very first time in the UK that the piece had been performed with the movement designed in the score. The choir performed so brilliantly that according to the review in the Telegraph, some audience members were moved to tears! If you click on the image above you can read the full article written in the Telegraph.
Last year’s performance of ‘Islands (Ynysoedd)’ by the SICC was very well received. The passing of Sir John Tavener, in the same week as the concert premiering this work, meant that all involved wished to pay their musical respects to him and his family. In this context, I felt that the movement part of this piece needed to be temporarily omitted. I journeyed back to Iceland last week to work with the choir on this element of the score. The top photo (credit: Brian FitzGibbon) shows the choir rehearsing in Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. This is where the Icelandic premiere of the work was given in the Reykjavik Arts Festival on 24th May 2014. I will be posting a video of the choir during our preliminary rehearsals, and subsequent performances to my You Tube channel very soon.
I am very glad to be able to tell you that ‘Islands (Ynysoedd)’, will enjoy performances at the following events this year:
Reykjavik Arts Festival (22nd May-5th June)
Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival (23 May-7th June)
Umeå International Choir Festival as part of the European Capital of Culture 2014 (17-21 June)
I will put up more details as soon as I have confirmed exact dates and times.
My new piece Islands (Ynysoedd) was featured on BBC Radio 3’s ‘The Choir’ programme on Sunday. If you’d like to hear the interview starting at 46:40 please click through the image above (this will only be possible for the next few days). However, you can still listen and download the piece by following my Soundcloud link, through the ‘Music’ tab above.
On the 15th November my piece ‘Islands (Ynysoedd)’ was premiered by South Iceland Chamber Choir. With the death of Sir John Tavener in the week leading up to the concert, the evening proved intense and captivating. If he had been able to attend, I was greatly looking forward to shaking his hand and thanking him for his music. I would like to remark on his family’s composure during the concert: I think I would have struggled under such circumstances. I hope that the standing ovation that finished the concert was as much directed towards them, as the team who produced the concert.
The photographs below depict the choir singing in the studio live on air on BBC Radio 3, and rehearsing before the concert in Southwark Cathedral. Thanks to the sound engineer Árni Möller, I have been able to mix a recording of ‘Islands (Ynysoedd) from the concert on Friday. It should be on the ‘Music’ tab of this site, via soundcloud link. If you would like to read the review of the concert from ‘The Telegraph’, click on the pictures below to be taken to their site.