Fact – by the age of five months, babies have good colour vision. So, as of last Thursday, I can’t pretend that our son’s puzzled look while drooling over colour swatches is anything but a speck of skepticism regarding our choice for home improvements. His sister has secretly circled Nancy’s Blushes, a venturous pink on the Farrow and Ball chart, while Henri and I are snowblinded by an avalanche of nuances of white.
So, why not choose something more off the wall than a simple shade of #FFFFFF for our refurbished partitions? Indeed, what a thrill it would be to willfully splash Mouse’s Back over the hallway and cover the kitchen walls in Monkey Skin! A fresh coat of Mole’s Breath would unearth my penchant for an ambrosial 70s palette, which could potentially call for the rest of the flat to be washed in Mikado Orange and Pilgrim Brown. After all of that, you’d however need an imagination to channel the minimalist Nordic vibe we like.
So far, 2016 is proving to be a year drenched in variegated colours, saturated in exotic scents and dipped in original flavours – a prophetess perhaps of exciting aural worlds to be composed, performed and experienced:
A WHIFF OF TANGERINE GREEN
First off, this Saturday, 7th May, sees the premiere of my new 17-minute orchestral work, Fruitmarket, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Ilan Volkov as part of the Glasgow Tectonics Festival at the Old Fruitmarket/City Halls. The musical material is derived from transcriptions of market vendors’ calls and shouts collected from around the world. As a spatial work for this extraordinary venue, Fruitmarket sets the scene for a perambulating audience by positioning the orchestral musicians all around the hall, including the upper galleries and so explores the natural surround sound of this old market space. It is a piece to be experienced live in the room, although a later BBC Radio 3 broadcast might also transport you to the streets sounds and scents of Morocco, Greece, Peru or Japan. Listen out for the sound of scaffold tubes that bookend the piece, the boxing bell that opens the market, the vociferous trading, the church bells, the marching parade, the canon of Taiwanese snake oil selling – you will not want to miss it! Details of a future broadcast will be on my website as soon as I know more. The program also features new works by Crane, Emsley, Kenney/Kang as well as the much anticipated new piano concert by Howard Skempton for John Tilbury.
A HINT OF JASMINE
I am delighted that soprano Juliet Fraser continues touring the UK with her Voice(s) program. Tea Break For Juliet for tape and flowering tea, performed by Juliet and mixed by S. Husky Hoskulds will thus feature on the program at The Hepworth/Wakefield (14th May, 15.00-17.00) and the Union Chapel Bar/London (18th May, 19.30). Come and smell the music!
A SHEEN OF COCHINEAL DEEP PURPLE
Over the next few months, Lou Koster’s Oratorio Der Geiger von Echternach will be performed three times in Luxembourg: 4th June in Echternach/Trifolion, 2nd July in Soleuvre/Artikuss and 16th July in Diekirch/Eglise Décanale. My piece Le Joueur de Vièle, which was commissioned by CID Fraen a Gender and offers my own pared-down version for solo violin and dancer of this Luxembourgish legend, will be performed as part of each of these events. Le Joueur de Vièle was first performed last summer in Ouessant, albeit with an imaginary dancer. This time, I am thrilled that Gianfranco Celestino will premier the dancing part of this duet together with the first violinist of the Orchestre Estro Armonico, Jehanne Strepenne. I am also hoping to exhibit the score, which comes in 32 connected tableaux at these concerts.
A HUE OF MOON WHITE
You can now watch the performance of The Moon Moves Slowly [But It Crosses The Town] for large Tam-Tam and ensemble performed at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival by Ensemble Lucilin online at I Care If You Listen TV or on my Vimeo channel. Also, as part of Mudam’s ten year anniversary celebration, Lucilin will perform the piece there again on the afternoon of 2nd July. Please check my website for further details on this nearer the time.
A PUFF OF CRUSHED CAYENNE
I am taking part in the nu:nord artists residency program which brings together musicians from Canada, Norway and the UK for a series of concerts this summer. For this occasion I have written a new piece called Sardines for the Canadian percussion quartet Architek which will be performed on 5th August at the Huddersfield Creative Arts Building Atrium and at the NU:NORD Summer Exhibition at Union Chapel/London, an all day event on 7th August! 40 tin boxes filled with granules and spices ranging from tiny poppy seeds and peppercorns to whole nutmegs and cinnamon sticks make this my most fragrant piece yet!!
A TRACE OF HARLEQUIN GREEN
A new documentary by filmmaker Anne Schiltz on my piece Pantomime for voice, piano and three dictaphones is available now, complete with English subtitles. You will get a look behind the scenes and see me working with Vincent Lièvre-Picard (tenor voice) and Emmanuel Olivier (piano). Watch it on I Care If You Listen TV or on my Vimeo site.
A TRAIL OF PEARLY GATES PALE
Last, if you missed the performance in October, here is a chance to listen to my contribution to the Bach Orgelbuechlein Project beautifully played by organianist William Whitehead at the London Oratory. The commission was kindly supported by the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in London.
Anne of Green Gables by the bedside tonight brings to mind hushed hues of Morning Mist and poetic qualities of Drawing Room Blue. I guess my little family is however too continental to choose a coat of Victorian chic over brighter colour tones that draw in light so that it might bounce off the walls and permeate every aspect of our lives!
’til next time,