David Fennessy’s choral work Letter to Michael will be performed together with excerpts from Arvo Pärt’s Kanon Pokajanen on Friday 20 June at this year’s Pipeworks Festival in Dublin, which starts today and runs until 27 June. Paul Hillier conducts the Chamber Choir Ireland.
The composer about the work:
A few years ago I came across an extraordinary piece of art by a woman named Emma Hauck. She was admitted to a German psychiatric ward about a hundred years ago diagnosed with schizophrenia. Whilst a patient there she produced pages and pages of text – thousands of lines in pencil which were addressed to her husband who had ceased to visit her. She simply wrote the words “Sweetheart Come” over and over again or sometimes just the word “come”. Every page is thick with overlapping text and some are so condensed as to be illegible.
I was deeply moved by these repeated pleas and feel strongly that the desperate passion that can be seen on these pages could only really be expressed with voices. I imagine a dense layering of a simple line; each voice adding to the power of the plea…
David Fennessy: Letter to Michael
for choir (16 voices) a cappella | 7'
Arvo Pärt: Kanon Pokajanen
for mixed choir a cappella
20.06.2014, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin; Chamber Choir Ireland, Paul Hillier
The Pipeworks Festival on Vimeo:
David Fennessy’s The room is the resonator is the first track of Oliver Coates’ recently released album Towards the blessed islands, which features eight cello pieces that were recorded in “churches, tombs, disused oil rigs and […] railway stations at night.”
Listen to a complete recording of The room is the resonator on Fluid Radio.
Oliver Coates, who performed the world première of The room is the resonator in 2009, in an interview on Towards the blessed islands.
The recording is available here.
Photos from another (intensive) day of rehearsals for David Fennessy’s Hauptstimme, showing the composer, violist Garth Knox, conductor Garry Walker, and the Red Note Ensemble. The piece for amplified solo viola and ensemble will be premièred on 16 November at the huddersfield contemporary music festival.
David Fennessy on Hauptstimme:
The notion of the individual and how he/she contributes or functions in a group setting as well as how that group can meaningfully make a collective statement has been central to a number of my works over the years – starting with graft for string quartet (2000), through to 13 Factories for ensemble (2009). Once again, it seems to be at the core of this new piece for solo viola and ensemble.
For much of the time, the solo viola is buried in a thick ensemble texture with the primary goal merely to be heard. Once it has achieved this, a more complex question emerges – what to say?
Also on the programme: James Dillon's New York Triptych, the third and final instalment in a series of three-part pieces, and Bruno Mantovani's D'un rêve parti, a brief homage to the auld alliance.
Many, many thanks to Richard Greer for taking – and sending us – these photos!
Find a blog entry by John Harris, chief executive and artistic co-director of the Red Note Ensemble, in which he writes about the preparations for the ensemble’s concerts at the hcmf on the festival’s guest blog.
The UK première of David Fennessy’s 5 Hofer Photographs takes place tonight, 5 June 2013, at Sloan’s in Glasgow. Robert Irvine plays the five short pieces for solo cello that were inspired by the work of German photographer Evelyn Hofer.
David Fennessy: 5
for solo violoncello | 10’
5/6/2013, Glasgow; Robert Irvine, vc
The video was taken on 28 November 2012 at the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter in Köln and features an excerpt of David Fennessy’s excellent Piano Trio | Music for the pauses in a conversation between John Cage and Morton Feldman.
Among the pieces performed on this evening, which focused on the friendship between Cage and Feldman, were also Feldman’s For John Cage, Steffen Krebber’s Konfusion IV and John Cage’s Imaginary landscape No. 1.
Tonight at 21:00 CET/CEST: RTÉ lyric fm broadcasts Bedford’s Chiaroscuro, Fennessy’s Piano Trio and Staud’s Für Bálint András Varga. The concert was performed by the Fidelio Trio and recorded on Saturday 2 March during the three-day New Music Dublin festival.
The world première of David Fennessy’s Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon), which opened the second Tectonics Festival in Glasgow on 11 May 2013 (the first took place in Iceland in March 2012), was a great success. Ilan Volkov conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
We also took a photo of the panel discussion with David Fennessy, Hildur Gudnadóttir, Alvin Lucier, Ilan Volkov and Fiona Talkington in the Candleriggs Bar.
If you didn’t manage to attend the two-day festival, here is a short introductory video of Volkov talking about it. I’d say that the festival’s mixture of genres is a great idea, and am eagerly awaiting to see who will be on the programme next year:
Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon) constitutes the first part of a trilogy of pieces I am composing based on the diaries of the German film director Werner Herzog which he kept during the troubled production of his 1982 movie Fitzcarraldo and later published as the book Conquest of the Useless. The movie itself concerns the doomed efforts of a turn of the century rubber baron to build an opera house in the middle of the Peruvian jungle and the central, iconic image from the movie of a steamship being hauled over a mountain has been somehow translated here into a gigantic glissando, starting in the depths of the orchestra and slowly climbing. I wanted this piece to have all the grandeur and over-the-top emotions of a romantic opera overture and as I began to compose, that wish became more and more literally realised with snatches of Rigoletto writhing in the undegrowth accompanied high above by the “melancholy peeping” of tree-frogs.
The world première of David Fennessy's new orchestral work Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon) will be held on 11 May in Glasgow. Ilan Volkov conducts the BBC Scottish SO.
David Fennessy: Prologue (Silver are the tears of the moon)
for orchestra | 10’
3 3 3 3 - 4 2 3 1 - Table Guitar, timp, perc(3), pno, str(12 10 8 8 6), frog guiros
world prem. 11/5/2013, Glasgow; BBC Scottish SO, cond. Ilan Volkov
This Friday, David Fennessy presents what you could call a “staged concert” (to use Heiner Goebbels’s term) at the Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. The concert starts at sunset, and the audience walks for about 10 minutes into the forest adjoining the Schloss, where in the little hut there Sabine Ahrendt will perform Little Bird Barking for violin (or as the composer writes “for violinist and forest sounds”).
“The violinist is not attempting to 'harmonise' with the forest sounds but rather seems like an alien creature transplanted from a different habitat who nevertheless attempts to add their voice to the chorus!”
The audience then returns towards the Schloss and arrives at the Scheune (barn), where Sonia Cromarty will perform The room is the resonator (for cello and electronics) followed by Rest (for violin, cello and electronics). The recorded part was created at the hut mentioned above during Fennessy’s residence at Schloss Solitude last year.
As Fennessy writes: “There is a kind of narrative running throughout the three pieces, including in a way, the walking between them. The resounding question is one of the performers’ ‘voice’, literally and metaphorically, and how it adapts to its surroundings. All three pieces contain extended vocalising from the performers which, I feel, helps to imprint their individual identity onto the performance. In all three cases, the fragile voice emerges from behind the instrumental shield.”
Click the image above for a PDF file of the brochure.