:: News


UPCOMING CONCERTS

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

September 11

Being Dufay ( Offenbach-Hundheim)

Vokalmusik entlang der Romanischen Straße

September 24

Being Dufay (Bratislava)

Bratislava Convergence Festival

October 3

Robert Kirby Memorial event

Cecil Sharp House, London

October 15

Sound & Fury live broadcast from Mauerbach ORF 22.00

October 15- 19

Sound & Fury recordings (Vienna)

November 3

Dowland Project (Prague)

Strings of Autumn Festival

November 6

Gavin Bryars Ensemble

King’s Place (London)

November 11

A Musicall Banquet (Birmingham) with Ariel Abramovich

Birmingham Early Music Festival

November 24

Roger Marsh 60th birthday concert (York)

November 25

Launch of UYMP Songbook (compiled by John Potter & David Blake)

Birmingham Conservatoire

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Tenors, texts and TV…

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

What makes a great tenor? Rolando Villazon does…

If you’re near a TV set on June 2nd at 9.00 in the evening you might catch me being interviewed by the amazing Rolando Villazon on BBC4. I had a wonderful time at the Royal Opera House; Villazon is a real powerhouse and has an incredibly quick brain. When I arrived he was sitting on the floor doing a piece to camera on Franco Corelli. At the end of the first take I couldn’t resist suggesting he mentioned Corelli’s legs, which were reckoned by some to be the best pair ever seen on a tenor. He began again: …and Franco Corelli, he had it all, including two of the best pairs of legs in the business…immediately realising what he’d said, he added…though he only used one pair at a time, of course. I don’t suppose that will find its way into the final cut.  It was all enormous fun, with Rolando fizzing away the whole time. So much energy! I’d taken the precaution of bringing along my copy of his Massenet & Gounod album – one of my favourites – which now has on the liner a Rolando cartoon of the two of us talking tenor stuff.

Tenor paperback

Tenor: History of a Voice is to be reprinted by Yale as a paperback in September. There won’t be any updated content, but I hope I have  corrected most of the misprints etc – so thank you to all those whose sharp eyes caused me all sorts of embarrassment. There may well be a substantially updated 2nd edition in a year or two, so I hope people will keep sending suggestions for updates.

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March-April

Thursday, March 18th, 2010


The  Diary section tells you what I’m up to for the next  month or so and flags up similar future gigs.  Below that there’s news of current projects, and a blog post about Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford (who’ve both given talks at York). You’re welcome to leave comments or ask questions (click the Comments link at the bottom) and you can sign up for regular updates by clicking on Subscribe.

DIARY

MARCH 13 A Musical Banquet with Ariel Abramovich lute FEMAS Festival, Seville

next performance Barcelona May 4-9 with workshops in Castellon 

MARCH 19  Duparc ‘work in progress’ with Liz Haddon piano postponed due to disappearance of piano!

next performances June 7 & 22 Lyons Concert Hall York: Schumann & Webern with surround sound electronic piano

MARCH 30  Lisbon  workshop at Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa 3.00

(Contact Paulo Lourenco( lourenpf@gmail.com) for further details)

MARCH 31 Being Dufay Teatro Maria Matos, Lisbon

APRIL 20 Being Dufay Chicago Early Music Festival

next performance in Foligno (Italy) June 26


NEWS

Gavin Bryars Ensemble: the new Live at Punkt album (BCGBCD15) is now out. This is a recording of a concert in the Punkt Festival, Kristiansand in 2008, and features Arve Henriksen on trumpet playing with the band for the first time.

Ambrose Field has been invited to do a presentation about the new piece at IRCAM

The Bruford/Fripp experience

Some years ago, not long after I started the day job, I had a call from Robert Fripp, who wanted to tell me he’d enjoyed Vocal Authority. Having picked myself up off the floor I persuaded him to come and give talk at the Music Department. It was a memorable occasion, not least because someone pinched the wheels off his car while he was holding forth in the Lyons.  Then a few months ago I had an email out of the blue from erstwhile King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford offering us a talk (based on his recent autobiography) about his experience as a creative musician in the commercial world (thanks Syd Smith for giving Bill my address). So my York job has been nicely book-ended by two of the great figures from prog rock.

Fripp’s topic was ‘discipline’, delivered to a packed concert hall (I’d emailed the entire campus by mistake, not knowing how to work the software, as usual). He began by coming onto the stage and sitting in silence for a full five minutes before opening his mouth. It was a stunningly theatrical move – we don’t have nearly enough silence in the music department, and it did require considerable discipline as he waited for total silence to descend. Then someone’s mobile went off… and I’m sure the poor guy has never forgotten RF’s response. He almost hypnotised us with his low-key, densely formulated delivery., and we felt we were in the presence of a seriously intellectual rock musician with a very clear sense of his role in maintaining rock music as a progressive and creative art form that would have meaning for classical music students as much as anyone else. Even if we sometimes found it hard to figure out exactly what that meaning was.

There is much wry comment in Bill Bruford’s book about his relationship with Robert Fripp (and some of it’s hysterically funny). BB is an engaging and articulate speaker (and writer), and comes across as a most unlikely rock god. A student of mine told me he’d been standing in a queue at a Bruford drum clinic and got talking to the guy behind him while waiting to be let in. They chatted amiable drummery for ten minutes and when they were finally let in, his companion went straight to the stage and carried on talking. Bill, for it was he, had been queuing for his own clinic. It was typical of the man, modest and unassuming, and always interested in what the other person has to say.  He talked for nearly two hours, played some wonderful Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson archive footage, and was strangely unforthcoming about his jazz achievements with Earthworks. It was compelling stuff, utterly truthful and realistic and hugely appreciated by the largely student audience. Robert Fripp gave us some much needed discipline and silence, and Bill Bruford brought humanity and common sense; both hugely creative in very different ways. What a band King Crimson must have been.

next posting will be about responses to my Tenor: History of a Voice, which has now been out for a year.


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March Events

Friday, March 5th, 2010


The  Events section tells you what I’m up to for the next  month or so and flags up similar future gigs. There’s also news of current and future projects, and the occasional blog post. You’re welcome to leave comments or ask questions (click the Comments link at the bottom) and you can sign up for regular updates by clicking on Subscribe.


MARCH 13 A Musical Banquet with Ariel Abramovich lute FEMAS Festival, Seville

next performance Barcelona May 4-9 with workshops in Castellon 

MARCH 19  Duparc ‘work in progress’ with Liz Haddon piano postponed due to disappearance of piano!

next performances June 7 & 22 Lyons Concert Hall York: Schumann & Webern with surround sound electronic piano

March 30  Lisbon  workshop at Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa 3.00

(Contact Paulo Lourenco( lourenpf@gmail.com) for further details)

MARCH 31 Being Dufay Teatro Maria Matos, Lisbon

next performance Chicago Early Music Festival April 20


Transfer in Mysteria

This is the title of the new programme of sacred music by Josquin Desprez that I’m recording for ECM in the summer. The usual way of doing 15th century Franco-Flemish polyphony is with a cappella voices, but we now know that the music was performed in all sorts of different ways, depending on who wanted to do it and what resources they had.  Although most music of the period appeared in versions for voices, once the prints or manuscripts entered circulation they were soon appropriated by instrumentalists and solo singers. There is a huge catalogue of sacred music intabulated for lute, vihuela, and even keyboards. There is a smaller repertoire of transcriptions for two vihuelas, some of which have a vocal part, giving a glimpse of a lost repertoire for solo voice.  This programme imagines a mass performed by a singer and two vihuela players.  It consists of movements of various masses intabulated for the two instruments, interspersed with chant and motets. The latter are based on intabulations of the polyphonic originals with an improvised solo voice which weaves  in and out of the texture division style. For this programme Ariel Abramovich and I are joined by Lee Santana, and we reckon that this is the first time the music has been heard like this since the sixteenth century.

Being Dufay

We now have a new video on the dedicated Being Dufay site – a short collage compiled from the Australia performance. There are several gigs coming up – Lisbon this month then the Chicago Early music Festival (don’t try to get a US visa unless you have a lot of time, money and patience or an amazing manager…);  in the summer we’ll be in Italy and Germany, and Ambrose will soon have a taster of the new piece which we’ll post on the website as soon as we can.

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Another leap in the dark

Monday, March 1st, 2010

This is a bit of an experiment – I’ve added WordPress so that I can update the News page but also make it into a blog (largely inspired by my son Ned ). Not quite sure how this will work yet, and it may not even have come out on the right page, but if you fancy helping me out do leave a comment. At the moment I’m just intending to update it more frequently and less formally, but I hope to introduce more polemical stuff from time to time, especially once I leave the day job.

In the meantime I can’t resist raising a cheer for Nicholas Kenyon, who confirmed on the Today programme (Radio 4, Feb 27th) that the historical concept of ‘the composer’s intention’ was dead – very late 20th century, a time when we had very little confidence in our own taste… Say it loud Sir Nick!  – One day academia might listen…

Veljo Tormis in York

Wonderful Tormis concert on the National Day of Estonia – it was fantastic to have the composer here. It was my last concert in the Department and The 24 sang their socks off. Lots of great audience feedback – some thought it the best thing they’d ever heard in the Lyons. If you’re quick you can catch my In Tune ramblings on BBC iPlayer (complete with dodgy moment when Sean Rafferty  asked me to talk about a piece that I was pretty sure he wasn’t about to play).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qpsnn#synopsis

Being Dufay shot to No 1 (from 93!) on the Amazon ECM chart within a few hours of my emerging from the British Broadcasting Cupboard at Radio York. The power of radio…


Sound and Fury: Caron CD of the Year

Todd McComb has written perceptively about early music recordings for many years. He’s chosen our Caron recording as his CD of the year http://www.medieval.org/music/early/09.html

The first Obrecht album was a runner up, as several of our albums have been in previous years. We will next meet in July (at Kloster Mauerbach again) .

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