Entries in Spitalfields Music (6)


New commissions and premieres at Spitalfields Music Summer Festival

Contemporary music plays a central part in Spitalfields Music’s summer and winter festivals.  This June, there’s a typically strong line up of new works from established and emerging classical composers and from artists rooted in electronica and other musical disciplines.  Premieres include:

Spitalfields Music Summer Festival Associate Artist series:  Scanner

Summer Festival Associate Artist, composer, artist and self-styled “flâneur éléctronique”, Scanner (aka Robin Rimbaud) is joined by two of the hottest young names in electronica, The Haxan Cloak (aka Bobbi Krlic) and Elizabeth Walling (aka Gazelle Twin) in live shows which explore and reinterpret a four hundred year old musical masterpiece:  Lachrimae by Renaissance composer/lutenist John Dowland*.

Scanner presents his own personal response to Dowland in an audiovisual performance that uses epic macro images of the everyday, offering unusual perspectives of the world around us.  The event also features The Haxan Cloak (aka Bobby Krlic), creator of a divergent and murky world of uneasy sound, cinematic in scope, where suspended synths float delicately in the ether. The Haxan Cloak unveils a new work inspired by Lachrimae for cello, guitar and treated percussion and plays a second set featuring material from his new album, Excavation. Chris Cairns put together his Computer Junk Orchestra for a commercial project in 2012 - a quirky ensemble of discarded photocopiers, fax machines, printers, hard drives, scanners and modems, where the junk itself can perform musical tunes. The orchestra takes up residence for the evening, performing Dowland and other compositions on the detritus of our lives.  Saturday 8 June at 8pm, Bishopsgate Institute

Closing Scanner’s Associate Artist series, Elizabeth Walling aka Gazelle Twin has curated a unique series of works exploring John Dowland’s Flow My Tears – from the notion of ‘flow’ within a melodic line, to the history of flow beneath Spitalfields itself. Welcoming guest performances from Elysian Quartet cellist and avant-pop explorer Laura Moody, experimental songstresses juice and electro-acoustic start Anna Meredith, this series twists and turns through underground spaces of the area.  Supported by the PRS for Music Foundation.

Scanner comments: “When I first heard Lachrimae as a teenager, listening to the work for the first time on a worn cassette borrowed from my local library, I revelled in the instrumental textures and harmonies of Dowland’s music, unlocking the mysteries in a profoundly emotional journey.  A rhetoric of mourning has fascinated artists and individuals for centuries; melancholia charts a connection between lyricism and the sublime, and the marriage of pathos and spirituality in Lachrimae perfectly encapsulates this introspective, emotive state. For this programme, I am keen to present works that connect music with words and experiential activities that can move beyond the parameters of a traditional theatre or performance space. 

 If you already know Dowland’s music, then I hope that the events will offer new perspectives and surprises.  If you don’t, I hope they’ll whet your appetite; there’s much to discover and delight in!” 

New Staged works include:

London Sinfonietta’s At the World’s Edge, with music by Elspeth Brooke, puppetry by Seonaid Goody and directed by Anna Jones. Combining puppetry, electronic soundscape and live music, At the World’s Edge recasts the Greek myth of Persephone’s descent into the underworld and her mother’s epic search to get her back. The piece was developed as part of the London Sinfonietta’s Blue Touch Paper programme that nurtures and promotes the next generation of composers and inter-disciplinary collaborations. Wednesday 19 June at 8.30pm, Village Underground

Dialogues from Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley and Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain (all of which became cinematic successes for the late Anthony Minghella) provide the starting point for REPLICA, composer Edward Jessen’s sumptuous experimental music-theatre work for recorder quintet Consortium5 and solo voices including tenor John Potter. Featuring delicate, transcendent moments that expose the frailty and resilience of human nature, REPLICA unfurls in a stunning aural and visual realisation. Tuesday 11 June at 7pm and 8.30pm, Rich Mix

Elastic Theatre and film-production company Savage Mills fuse dance, theatre and opera in Julius, a multi-screen film set to a new score by Ivan Hussey. Julius follows an adolescent growing up in 1950s rural Italy who begins to experience intrusive thoughts about himself as a Roman Emperor. Inspired by the surreal cinematography of Federico Fellini, Julius explores the nature of obsessional thoughts and the superstitious beliefs associated to them. Friday 7 June – Friday 14 June, Box Park, Shoreditch, FREE

Mon, Wed & Fri: 11am-7pm; Tues & Thurs:  11am-6pm; Saturday:  Midday-8pm

Wednesday 13 June, Underground Picture House at the Water Poet

Concert premieres:

David Matthews’ Four Portraits for piano (in celebration of pianist William Howard’s 60th birthday), and the first performance of The Shorter Ring, Matthews’ five minute arrangement of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.  Friday 14 June, Shoreditch Church

Nicola LeFanu’s A Phoenix for Carla, commissioned by Stephen Massil in response to flautist Carla Rees’ experience of the London riots, and premiered by Carla and her digital acoustic ensemble rarescale.  Carla received both professional and press support following the loss of her instruments in a fire during the 2011 London riots. Monday 10 June at 8.30pm, Hoxton Hall

Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s Katharsis is inspired by the dance movements of Bach’s iconic Cello Suites.  Belgian cellist David Cohen and Rambert Orchestra make their Spitalfields Music debuts performing Frances-Hoad’s new piece alongside the work that inspired it, and pieces by Mark Bowden, Gavin Higgins and Benjamin Britten.  Paul Hoskins conducts.  Saturday 15 June at 7.30pm. Shoreditch Church

Composer Emily Hall and lyricist Toby Litt’s explore the powers and emotions of mourning in a new collection of classical and folk inspired songs, Rest, performed by rising folk trio Lady Maisery alongside ballads inspired by folk singing traditions of the UK and Northern Europe. Wednesday 12 June at 8pm, Hoxton Hall

New works by Elgar Howarth and Royal Academy of Music student Carter Callison feature alongside pieces by Purcell and Gabrieli in the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music Brass Ensemble’s celebration of Venetian and English art and music.  Friday 21 June at 7.30pm, Shoreditch Church


The Festival features a number of one-off musical collaborations:

Living Room in London, featuring Manu Delago, Björk’s percussionist and leading exponent of the Swiss percussion instrument, the hang, and string musicians from the Solstice Quartet and the London Symphony Orchestra, play a series of one-off pieces, including new works by British composer Charlie Piper.   Tuesday 18 June at 8.00pm, Village Underground

Percussionist Joby Burgess’ Powerplant, featuring cinematic sound designer Matthew Fairclough and visual artist Kathy Hinde, perform their recent collaboration with Gabriel Prokofiev.  Saturday 15 June at 8.00pm, Bishopsgate Institute

In Open Souls, Ranjana Ghatak joins forces with Seb Rochford and beatboxer Jason Singh to explore the relationships between their different musical influences, from Indian classical compositions to elements of jazz. Friday 7 June at 8.00pm, Bishopsgate Institute

Young and old participants from across Tower Hamlets work with Spitalfields Music and Magic Me, the UK’s leading provider of intergenerational arts projects, to create Songlines, a journey through the borough in music, film, photography and storytelling.  The culmination of six month of workshops, the piece is inspired by Songlines, the Aboriginal practice of tracing the narrative and history of a place through music and art. Thursday 13 June at 2pm, Hoxton Hall

For younger ears:

City of London Sinfonia and celebrated children’s author Michael Rosen present The Great Enormo, a Kerfuffle in B flat for orchestra and wasps, with music by James Morgan and Juliette Pochin. Saturday 15 June at 2pm, Idea Store Whitechapel,  Suitable for children up to 12 years old