Posts Tagged ‘Gavin Bryars Ensemble’

April-May: Gavin Bryars, Being Dufay & Josquin Desprez

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Gavin Bryars Punkt album

This was recorded at the 2008 Punkt festival in Kristiansand. Live recording is exhilarating, and most musicians today try to make even a studio recording as ‘live’ as possible – long takes, minimal editing and lots of risk taking. But usually you know in advance that you’re actually recording something.  Gavin often records his gigs as a matter of record, and certainly the Punkt Festival set-up was perfect for this, but none of us expected to see it end up as a CD. It’s a reminder that every second counts and you never know what might come back to haunt you (YouTube, for all its wonders, is also the graveyard of clips that can’t decay fast enough). But I love this CD. It’s vintage Gavin – exquisite playing from his players Morgan Goff, Nick Cooper and James Woodrow, with the man himself on bass (and occasional piano). What an amazing  quartet they are – sitting on stage listening to them playing the two instrumental Laude is just one of the best things there is. And, of course, nothing beats singing with Anna Maria Friman (who’s just agreed to join me for the Josquin project).  Gavin’s band is a bit like a family – we’ve all been with him for a long time – and it was typical of him to invite Arve Henriksen, in town for Punkt and the future Mr Friman-Henriksen, to join us for a couple of numbers. Lauda 37 ‘Ciascun ke fede sente’ is one of two tracks featuring Arve, and it’s absolutely unique in Gavin’s oeuvre (his pieces with trumpet are very few and far between). We only saw it for the first time that day, and the trumpet is improvising; it doesn’t get much live-er than that. The last piece is the beautiful  ‘Amore dolce senza pare’. I nearly lost it at the end, but Morgan’s fabulous portamento is what you’ll remember.

Performances aren’t complete until they’re absorbed by the listener. Gavin provides no texts or translations, so the final element in the process is the audience members creating their own meanings inside their own heads. That’s just as it should be.

Being Dufay

Potter & Field

We’re hoping to have a film of the complete Perth Festival performance, but at the moment we have a YouTube clip of live audio with a video montage to give an idea of what Mick Lynch’s films look like. Lisbon was another wonderful gig, very efficiently organised by Pedro Santos.   There’s an interview with Nuno Galopim and a review by him in DN Artes.  I also heard some interesting singers at the workshop organised by Paulo Lourenco at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa in their stunning new building.

The Sound and the Fury

Sound & Fury

…have a review in Gramophone for our ‘intimate and uncomfortable portrait’ of Gombert!

The next S&F event will be a recording session in Kloster Mauerbach followed by a concert in the church on July 9th. We hope to record Caron clemens et bengigna, jesus autem transiens, and sanguis sanctorum masses and the Ockeghem Missae mi mi and ecce ancilla domini

Josquin Desprez: Transfer in Mysteria

This new project, to be recorded by ECM later this year, has now expanded to 2 singers and 2 vihuelas. I’m hoping it will encourage promoters and audiences to think more creatively about 15th and 16th century polyphony: it wasn’t all a cappella – and our version is one of the many alternative ways that this music might have been performed. The line-up is Anna Maria Friman & me (singers) with Ariel Abramovich and Lee Santana (vihuelas). This should be a great combination of voices & instruments to explore the further reaches of renaissance sacred music in due course.

Forsaking Authenticity…

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim’s Wall Street Journal article was based in part on an interview with me during which I touched on Duke Ellington, sheet music and the dodginess of written sources.


APRIL 20 Being Dufay Chicago Early Music Festival

next performance at the Dancity Festival Foligno (Italy) June 26

APRIL 27 – MAY 21   19th Century Italian Opera Project (University of York)

MAY 5 L’Auditori (Barcelona): Musical Banquet (with Ariel Abramovich lute)

MAY 7 Castellón: Musical Banquet (with Ariel Abramovich lute)

MAY 6-9 Castellón: lute song workshops (with Ariel Abramovich lute)

MAY 27 Words & Music: Gavin Bryars & Blake Morrison (Howard Assembly Room, Leeds)

THE RESPONSES to the tenor book will continue next time. Happy Easter all.