:: Roger Marsh

More Spring updates

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Since the last update more details have come in about Roger Marsh’s Poor Yorick at the Laurence Sterne celebrations with my former Hilliard Ensemble colleagues on March 22, after which I leave for Ecuador for concerts and a masterclass in Quito with Ariel Abramovich.  I’ll post further details about all these shortly, and concerts in April with Edward Jessen and Jacob Heringman.

La dársena

Ariel Abramovich has just given a long interview about Secret History (in Spanish)  for RTVE’s  La dársena music magazine programme. You can catch it here (starts at 1.25.19):  http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/audios/la-darsena/darsena-ariel-abramovich-04-02-18/4459498/

Tony Banks 5

Tony Banks’ new orchestral album 5 has had a rapturous reception in the prog press, and Tony has spoken about the songs he’s composed  for me on the Genesis-News Website as well as in the current Record Collector (no relation to The Record Collector I mentioned in a recent post):


I went several times to the Marquee in 1967 though I didn’t see the Nice. I did hear the Yardbirds (with Eric Clapton), John Mayall,  Sonny Boy Williamson, Long John Baldry  and a very young and delicate Rod (‘the Mod’, as he then was) Stewart. The  Swingles stayed at the same hotel as Rod in Perth about ten years later, and we all stood and gawped as he processed through the foyer with his entourage.  I once heard a journalist ask Ward Swingle what he thought of progressive bands like Genesis, Pink Floyd, Nice, Yes? To which he replied ‘Very…’.

The diary for the next couple of months looks like this at the moment (recent updates in blue):

February 22

Life after Josquin                           Newcastle University (13.10)

(with Jacob Heringman lute)


March 2

Alternative History                        Triskel Arts Centre Cork


March 16

In this trembling shadow

Iglesia de Santa Brígida, Sta. Brígida, GRAN CANARIA. (20:00)

(with Ariel Abramovich (lute)


March 17

In this trembling shadow

Iglesia de Las Clarisas, La Laguna, TENERIFE (20:30)

(with Ariel Abramovich lute)


March 18

In this trembling shadow

Iglesia San Francisco, Sta.Cruz de La Palma, LA PALMA (12:30)

(with Ariel Abramovich lute)


March 22

Laurence Sterne celebrations       St George’s Hanover Square, London

(Roger Marsh: Poor Yorick with former members of the Hilliard Ensemble)


March 24

Master class                                  

Festival Internacional de Música Sacra, Quito, Ecuador

(with Ariel Abramovich lute)


March 26

In this Trembling shadow           

Festival Internacional de Música Sacra, Quito, Ecuador

(with Ariel Abramovich lute)


March 27

In this Trembling shadow           

Festival Internacional de Música Sacra, Quito, Ecuador

(with Ariel Abramovich lute)


April 13

Flammarion Correspondences   Bonnie Bird Theatre, London

(Edward Jessen preview)


April 22

Life after Josquin                           York (house concert 3.00)

(with Jacob Heringman lute)


May 26

Book of Lost Lute Songs               EMF Sutton Courtenay (2.15)

(with Jacob Heringman lute)


I’ve at last got around to updating the discography page. It’s still not complete but at least the press quotes are now pasted beside the relevant albums (thanks Inigo).


Buenos Aires to Blackburn

Friday, September 30th, 2016


Ex-Hilliard Ensemble

October’s concerts start with a trip down memory lane with my old Hilliard Ensemble colleagues. On Wednesday  5th we’re taking part in a charity concert in St Paul’s Covent Garden. The plan is to sell off the group’s remaining stock of albums in aid of  Music For Open Ears which supports classical music in primary schools. We’ll be singing Tallis, Brumel, Dufay and Leonin among other composers. So come along and see if we can still cut it! If we’re still alive and kicking we’ll all be at the Singer Pur 25th anniversary concert at the Prinzregententheater in Munich on March 8th next year.

The Hilliards’ recording of Roger Marsh’s Poor Yorick, commissioned for the anniversary tour with us ex-members,  is hot off the press and available from the Lawrence Sterne Trust.

'Alas Poor Yorick' CD by Roger Marsh

and Miserere and Officium are now available on Vinyl! Though the picture accompanying the Officium catalogue entry is a little misleading…

Goodly Ayres in Buenos Aires and Tenerife


Palacio correos BA 2015.jpg


At the crack of dawn the next day I set off for Argentina, and a recital with Ariel Abramovich in the fabulous CCK hall in Buenos Aires on the 8th. It’s a programme of Dowland and Campion with one or two surprises thrown in (and will be my first visit there). I then have a week off before meeting up with Ariel again in Tenerife on the 21st (my first visit to the Canaries since playing in a lava tube in Lanzarote with the Dowland Project a while ago). This time we’ll be featuring Johnson’s Shakespeare settings alongside Danyel, Campion, Dowland and Tony Banks at the Festival de Música Antigua La Laguna .

Amores Pasados news



Then it’s swiftly to Germany via Madrid for Amores Pasados in Murnau at the Grenzenlos world music festival on the 23rd  and  Enjoy Jazz in Heidelberg’s Heiliggeistkirche (above) the following day. We’ll be adding Jacob Heringman’s new transcriptions of Butterworth and the elusive Peter Pope, and having a first rehearsal of John Paul Jones’ Blake Lullaby which he’s just finished for us and which we’ll probably unleash in Madrid or Trieste in March (it’s going to be a busy month). We’ve just agreed to do the Swaledale Festival next June and hope to slot in more UK dates before recording the next album.

Northern Song

I’ll be making my way to Blackburn on the 30th to join my ex-Swingle colleagues Linda Hirst and Catherine Bott on the panel for the Kathleen Ferrier Junior Bursary. I was unable to make the recent Swingle reunions (one of them coincided with the Hilliard reunion gig) and I don’t think the three of us have sat down together in the same room for decades so we’ll have a lot to catch up on as well as listening to some of the brightest young singers of the year. Very appropriate, having started the month raising money for primary school music, to end it hearing what talented first year conservatoire students can do.





Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

November 3

Dowland Project (Prague) with John Surman (sax/bass clarinet), Milos Valent (viola/violin) & Steve Stubbs (lutes)

Strings of Autumn Festival

extrapolations & improvisations on  Monteverdi, Merula, Sances, Purcell, Busatti, der Kanzler & anon

Tyn ChurchThis was our only European performance this year, so it was a very special occasion (Steve Stubbs flew from Seattle just for the gig). The Strings of Autumn Festival is magic – very efficient and friendly staff, great audience and the Tyn church is spectacular. Czech TV took part of the concert and even asked sensible quesitions afterwards.  It took a while to sort the sound out (the church is almost higher than it is long) but we had a great time.  For an encore we did La Dolce Vista. I didn’t tell the guys what it was, just ‘drone in D…’, and it worked surpisingly well in a slightly swung triple time…

My suite in the Intercontinental Hotel even had a pillow menu, pilow menuwhich coming soon after the monkish pseudo pillow of Mauerbach was a blessed relief.

November 6

Gavin Bryars Ensemble (London)

London International Festival of Exploratory Music at King’s Place

programme  includes Laude, Singe/Petrarch sonnets & new versions of English Madrigals by Gavin Bryars to poems by Blake Morrison for tenor, electric guitar, viola, cello & bass

Only UK performance this year.

What a wonderful concert hall King’s Place is. Crisp, bright acoustic – lovely to sing in, helpful backstage staff – perfect. It was a pretty hectic day as Gavin Bryars was held up in motorway traffic so we didn’t start the rehearsal till very late. But the new Morrison Songbook seemed to go very well – Blake’s words combine a strong sense of narrative with a linguistic sensuality that singers live for and Gavin is perfect at capturing – and Penny was very touched by Gavin’s dedication of the work to her. Great to see so many friends in the audience too. The Euston Ibis was a bit of a contrast to the Prague Intercontinental – no airconditioning so windows open to the roar of London traffic...

Next performance: Université d’Orléans (France), January 28

November 11

A Musicall Banquet (Birmingham) with Ariel Abramovich

Birmingham Early Music Festival

songs by Dowland, Holborne, Martin, Hales, Batchelor, Tessier, Guedron, Caccini & Megli from Robert Dowland’s 1610 book

November 12

lutsesong workshop with Ariel Abramovich

Learning Centre, Birmingham University 10.30 – 1.00

The Birmingham Early Music Festival’s theme of The Poet Sings was perfect for our Musical Banquet performance. The Birmingham & Midland Institute was a gem of a venue (and apparently features acoustic tiling based on the Fibonacci series) and we had a wonderfully attentive audience who’d braved the atrocious weather.  It’s a great festival – well worth checking out the other concerts. Our workshope was also terrific – what a great bunch of students – and how lucky they are to have Mary O’Neill to look after them!

November 18

Being Dufay (1st London performance)

Lewisham Sampler Festival at The Albany Deptford

I don’t do many gigs in the UK, and they’re sometimes distinctly odd. I looked up during the second number, to see someone apparently doing gymnastics swinging from the balcony ironwork. I hope it was out of excitement rather than boredom. The bar was in the auditorium (something I’d advocated at the York Music Department, but which – predictably – found no support) and it was great to see people sitting at tables rather than strung out like washing. Even so, Ambrose had to leap into the audience before we started to tell them to slurp their beer rather more loudly than they had during the recorder playing that preceded us. The day didn’t start well: I forgot the laptop that plays the video programme, so Ambrose and the Albany techies had to spend hours trying to re-construct it – which they did with seconds to spare. We always travel with plenty of backup, but it’s the sort of thing you only want to do once. I don’t think Ambrose enjoyed himself much, but I thought the show went quite well.

next performance: Parco della Musica Auditorium (Rome) February 26

We’ve just got this short video interview with excerpts from our Dancity Festival performance in Foligno earlier this year:

November 24

Roger Marsh 60th birthday concert (York)

Not a Soul but Ourselves sung by Anna Myatt, Linda Hirst, John Potter & Bill Brooks

excerpts from his Albert Giraud’s Pierrot Lunaire &  new works for tenor, cello (Charlotte Bishop) and tape by Ed Jessen and for tenor & marimba (Damien Harron) by Morag Galloway

Marsh posterThis was a grand occasion and a lot of fun: a tribute to Roger Marsh masterminded by William Brooks –   two of the brightest stars of their generation. I first met Bill and Roger when Electric Phoenix took on their Madrigals (Brooks) and Not a Soul but Ourselves (Marsh) in 1978/9  (both pieces written the year before for the seminal Extended Vocal Techniques Ensemble of San Diego). They became the Phoenix signature pieces (and daft as it may seem, one of the reasons that I left EP having put a huge amount of effort into getting it going was that the success of those two pieces completely undermined the group’s commitment to permanent revolution (alas, I wasn’t to discover Gramsci for another seven years…).Brooks poster They’re still among my very favourite 20th century vocal pieces – and they more than stand comparison with those of their slightly older more famous contemporaries Berio, Stockhausen et al. Roger subsequently re-wrote Bits and Scraps for me, and I toured with his wonderfully mad solo piece DUM (which I once performed in a field full of cows – absent in these pics as they were busy licking the camera).Dum scan

If someone had said back in the seventies that Roger, Bill and I would end up in the same university at the same time,  I would have thought, blimey – that would be quite some music department…

Anna Myatt, Linda Hirst, Bill Brooks and I just about survived Not a Soul (which Linda and I last did in Finland about 10 years ago), and there some lovely excerpts from Roger’s Pierrot Lunaire sung by The 24, Juice and the assembled company. I survived garrotting by Richard Wistreich once again. The cycle of mostly acappella pieces was originally commissioned by the Hilliard Ensemble in 2000 for one of their last German summer schools and completed a couple of years later as a Music Department Practical Project which Roger and I directed (and is one of my fondest memories of the Department).  It was later recorded for NMC (the booklet includes an article by yours truly on working with Roger). Pierrot coverThere were also new pieces for me to sing by Ed Jessen and Morag Galloway (both of whom had studied with Roger). Ed’s, for tenor, Charlotte Bishop on cello and tape,  was a typical Jessen oeuvre, the musical realisation of a fascinating wider intellectual process which in this case began 35,000 years ago. Morag’s was a duet for me and Damien Harron on marimba – an evocative setting of D H Lawrence’s The Healing. Composers and players were a joy to work with. But the best thing of the evening was a pop sog composed and sung by the student Marsh, accompanying himself on guitar,  back in 1972.  We were stunned – he was a fully formed blues singer…

This was my Music Department swan song, and there was a rather nice symmetry about it: it was Roger Marsh who was responsible for my coming to York 12 years ago, and the first York student I met was the newly graduated Morag Galloway. So Roger, if you see this,  a belated happy birthday –  I owe you a large one…

November 25

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

Birmingham Conservatoire

It was great to hear most of the songs from the volume, sung with great assurance by the Conservatoire students. There was some excellent cello, clarinet and marimba playing too. David Blake and I (especially David) spent a lot of time choosing which numbers to include, and the singers were coached (very sensitively, I thought) by Mary Wiegold. It was a very nice occasion – hosted with great charm by Julian Pike (a demon with one figure at the keyboard). I do hope university and conservatory students pick up on it – there are some fine pieces, and it’s a long way from the traditional voice & piano stuff.


I’m taking December off for book finishing!