New Music news, Old Music news
To come this Autumn/Winter: opera, song, guitar playing and more!
Many things have changed since I last updated here, and not just my facial hair. As a result of any number of those things, the next few months will be busy.
Rogue Opera: 'A Modern Opera Love Story'
The Queen's Head, Dorking
28 October, 7.30pm
I'll be singing as a character in a four-role comical show, the music of which will include arias from Rossini's Figaro, Escamillo and other favourites. I was lucky enough to see Rogue Opera's first show in their summer tour, which I was covering for, and I'm excited to be working with a group who seem to be doing something fresh and fun with operatic repertoire.
There may also be more to come with Rogue Opera in the Christmas season - watch this space...
'The Food Of Love': Music set to Words by Shakespeare and his Contemporaries
Grantham Choral Society
ChristChurch, Finkin St., Grantham
In a concert of Shakespeare texts, I will be singing Finzi's Let Us Garlands Bring, as well as other settings of some of the texts appearing in the Finzi in other languages by other composers: Schubert, and Sibelius. The Director of the Society was Assistant Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral while I was a lay clerk there - a nice reunion for the two of us.
Tickets available soon.
A year or so ago I enjoyed the opportunity to work with author Amy Jeffs, a close friend, on arranging and adapting songs she wrote to accompany her Sunday Times Bestseller List debut book, Storyland, and we put the music out as an album, Songs of Albion, which can be streamed on most music streaming platforms.
I have had the extremely inspiring experience of working with her again on music to accompany her follow-up work, WILD. In fact, this time is even more special for me for several reasons.
Firstly, the songs we have worked on will be included in the Audible audiobook release, to be heard at the end of each chapter (with thanks to Sebastian Brice for his producing/engineering work, and to many other friends for their unique and invaluable performances). Secondly, I have for the first time in some years been able to write some music myself, which took the form of the sixth of seven songs we have recorded for this work.
Amy's music is unfetteredly beautiful, and the songs have an unshakeable emotional integrity - so much so, that they withstood any and every outlandish thing I did in adapting them. As a result, the music we recorded touches at various times on sludge metal, Queen, Kate Bush, Nordic folk (or so I'm told), French Baroque, and more. It's possibly the best music I've been involved in making in my career so far.
You can pre-order the audiobook to listen here, and we hope to release the music as a standalone EP at a later date. If you prefer a non-audio book, that will be available from early October, and will include Dr Jeffs' own original lino cuts to illustrate each story, so perhaps worth getting copies in both formats... There are also some opportunities to hear us and our songs live, as follows:
WILD: Songs and Stories from Medieval Britain
Cheltenham Literature Festival
7 October 8-9pm
I'm afraid this is sold out, but perhaps you might be able to beg borrow or steal a ticket. Who knows, there may even be a scalping scene at the literature festival that I'm not aware of.
BOOK LAUNCH - Amy Jeffs in Conversation
Waterstones, Piccadilly, London
14 October 6.30pm
Dr Jeffs and I will be performing some songs as a duo, and joined by George Younge, whose poetic translations of medieval poems from the Exeter Books inspired the work, and which appear at the end of Amy's book.
You can book a ticket with a discounted copy of the book included in the price, too!
Tickets available here.
'An evening of live music and conversation with Amy Jeffs'
Waterstones, Canterbury - Rose Lane
18 October 6.30pm
A similar affair to Piccadilly, but just the two of us.
Tickets available here.
Finally, a more informal notice. I have been reevaluating my teaching practice as well as my musical work, and am adapting it to focus more on accessibility and collaboration.
If that means nothing to you, I think what I mean is that I am fitting my prices and my approach to whatever it is the person I'm working with wants or needs from their music making, even if that means they'd rather have no practice commitment, or only meet remotely or rarely, or pay a different amount every lesson, or whatever. When I've worked in this way recently the payoff has been huge, and I'm keen to continue it and build it up.
So, especially if you want to reconnect with music, connect with music for the first time, or if you have been convinced that music or singing 'just isn't for you', I'd love to hear from you and work with you, and can adapt to make sure the process feels manageable and comfortable. Get in touch!