AUTUMN 2017

CATTAIL – TATTLETALE – VIKING CAT – TAIL, FIR, HAT

Little E has been keeping a gardening notebook where she jots down “fackts ubowt flowus” and curiosities of “muvu naychu” which wouldn’t go amiss in Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. She is perhaps no Frank Louis Neuhauser yet – he won the first spelling bee in 1925 by successfully spelling “gladiolus” – but her DIY Botanicum gives a great insight into a five-year-old’s mind and the process of connecting sound and meaning, something I find fascinating as a mother and composer. 
 
se quando nasce una figliola il padre
 
With nearly 800 million people illiterate in the world, two thirds of which are women, literacy is unfortunately still far from being the birthright of everyone. For this year’s HOW DOES IT FEEL? – themed Rainy Days Festival, the Philharmonie Luxembourg have commissioned me to compose a new work for vocal ensemble EXAUDI. Equal opportunities and the education of girls is a topical subject and one close to my heart, and so I’m delighted to have stumbled upon a text by Renaissance poet Modesta da Pozzo, known under the pseudonym of Moderata Fonte (1555-1592), which superbly expresses the problematics of women’s social status in her time and vents her own feminist sentiments. About 450 years later and Fonte’s words still resonate as she addresses fathers “not to consign [their daughter] to a lower station but to set her to tasks just like [their] sons…for when confined to ordinary training, her education brings her small esteem.” Hear, hear!  
 
The premier of Il Floridoro – Canto 4 can be heard this Thursday, 16th November, as part of the  “Italian Madrigal Book” concert. I will be in conversation with Lydia Rilling, the dramaturg of the Philharmonie and the brain behind the festival, as well as James Weeks, the director of EXAUDI, just before the concert at 19.45. Get a festival pass and enjoy a few more days of contemporary goodness or stand by on the evening to grab a last-minute ticket.  
 
benedictus benedicat
 
Tonight, another premiere is taking place in the heart of London. For the occasion of the Luxembourg Society’s 75th anniversary Royal Gala Dinner today, Tuesday 14th November,I have set benedictus benedicat for SATB choir. No tails required, but bow ties, evening dresses and a few good voices. As with a sweet wine, every droplet counts and I am very much looking forward to the whole 15 seconds of the sung grace tonight – as well as the rest of the celebrations of course!
 
wind, “wotu” and “soyol”
 
I would also like to invite you to the sneak preview of Anne Schiltz’s new documentary Courants d’Airs which will take place at the CNA in Luxembourg on Monday 20th November. For one week the year before last, the film maker tailed composers Albena Petrovic-Vratchanska, Tatsiana Zelianko and myself as we mingled with the sheep, rabbits and musicians of Ouessant (Ushant), a tiny fleck of soil out in the Atlantic, to document a festival dedicated to women in music, Musiciennes à Ouessant. The film gives an insight into the work and lives of composers like us. This 2015 festival edition, Lou Koster (1889-1973) was the featured artist and the three new pieces I was commissioned to write (Le Joueur de Vièle,Moselträume and Traum) all bear a relation to this Luxembourg composer. Neither the works nor this film would have seen the light of day without the support of CID Fraen an Gender, who continue to spearhead music by women, as well as the Centre National de L’Audiovisuel. Entry is free on Monday night so just turn up for 20.00 and enjoy!  
 
tails of cats and cattails

 
As the cattails lay dormant and dried out around London’s marshes, it is time for Santa wishlists. May I point you to towards NOUTEFABRIK, where you can find useful and unusualstocking fillers such as my domino-inspired card-score Kartenspiel for solo violin, perfect around the experimental Christmas tree. 
 
Moreover, two new scores will be published by NOUTEFABRIK on 11th December and are available on pre-order now:
 
– Meerfahrt mit Don Quijote for solo piano – a 30 minute journey across the Atlantic nine parts premiered inspired by Thomas Mann’s 1934 travel journal, is soon ready to be shipped to all ye ivory-tickling Don(na) Quijotes out there. 
 
– Tea Break For Juliet, originally composed for and recorded by the one and only Juliet Fraser, will be published as a score for choir (minimum eight upper/women’s voices). No need to step on the tail of your cat to fill in the high notes. It will fit as a singsong around the Nordmann fir – that is if you have enough musical sisters, vocal aunts, nephew choristers and possibly one or two countertenor cousins lounging around the house. For the deeper voiced population, the recorded original is still available on iTunes and Vimeo!
 
While Little E is busy reading and writing, our Mini E has been honing his multi-linguist skills too. He has no doubt been adding to the pool of onomatopoeia known to our species and I have been surprised to find that life’s necessities can be expressed through intonations and inflections of two single words: ‘’no” and “more”! This 2-word toddler-tested method of communication could potentially put an end to any Eeoryish trepidations concerning foreign language skills and make the world your oyster! I’ll stop being a tattletale now and put my composer’s hat back on. Soon enough I will be enlisted again to complete the construction of a life-size cardboard dragon-ship prow for the only event that actually matters in our household: Little E’s forthcoming “Viking Cats” birthday party! Ahoy there and happy holidays! 
 
’til next time, 
Catherine