Tickets are now available! Please contact Anna Day at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase them.
There are only 100 available at £6 each, but the concert will be filmed and all the music recorded for a separate DVD of the event. Sales from this will also go to the Stroke Association and Cancer Research UK. So if you don’t manage to purchase a ticket in time, or would like a DVD of the concert regardless then they will be available at a later date during the Summer (tbc).
I look forward to seeing you there!
A very rough sketch of my new piece for Meera Maharaj and James Girling, playing alto flute and prepared classical guitar. It will be the first piece in my new cycle Incendiary Colour, for various chamber ensembles and an added installation element also.
Each colour and shape represents a different set of ideas/materials which have yet to be pieced together into a functional work. Until then, at least the colours are pretty!
I’m very excited to announce a concert which will take place on the 8th April in Stocksbridge, Sheffield. The programme of the evening will focus mainly on John Hirst’s original compositions, interspersed with other items from a variety of performers and genres. All proceeds will go to both Cancer Research and the Stroke Association. I’m very lucky to have the help of friends and family in putting this together, which so far is going very smoothly! This concert which I hope will be the first in a series will be an ideal opportunity for his work to be performed and recorded in the local area.
I feel a special connection with his music because he was the only other person in our family (so far!) who attempted serious composition for instruments and voices throughout his life. Although our approaches are very different, I can’t help but feel part of a lineage somehow and being influenced by the sounds he created which is really inspiring. I’ll be writing more information on the background to his life and music very soon.
So far I’ve catalogued 30 of his works for mainly chamber ensembles with a few larger scale works too. Music for solo piano, violin duet, string quartet, piano quartet, chorus and orchestra is all there waiting to be heard. I would describe his music as romantic in style with hints of more modern ideas as well. His level of craft as a composer has produced pieces with a wonderful sense of melody, harmony and structure that are a joy to listen to.
Keep an eye out for the regular updates I’ll be posting about the concert and his music in this section of my blog, including how to purchase tickets and donate to both charities.
I’m very excited to announce that my piece Night Sky Partials for SATB acapella chorus will receive two performances this Summer. The first will be at Victoria Hall in Sheffield in a concert which I’ll be able to say more about in a future blog post. The second will be in Tuscany, sung by members of the Fox Valley Voices for whom the piece was written and directed by myself.
The original version of this piece was for female voices (SSAA), and was written for my partner Emily Needle as a Birthday gift. Over Christmas I had the opportunity to revise it for SATB acapella chorus and expand on ideas in the first version.
I’ve included the programme note and text below:
This piece takes its name from the title track of an album by Freelance Whales, an American indie rock band whose lyrics (similarly to the text of this piece) explore dreamlike explorations of nature and the universe.
Text (extracts from Constellations by Ian Pindar, Nocturnes by Will Kemp and Wild by Ben Okri):
A summers day of images,
a field of fire.
The blue, beautiful morning.
The morning so clear.
The world is rich, with great love un-found,
set it free.
River, flow to the sea.
(Working with the Angeli Che Cantano on the original version of the piece in 2013)
I was very excited and proud to be involved in a concert back at the beginning of October with local volunteers, in celebration of a very beautiful landscape and its design.
I was commissioned by the Wentworth Castle Heritage Trust’s community’s officer Peter Clegg, to produce my piece Wentworth Cantata. The commission was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the CB300 festival. It was premiered at Wentworth Castle on the 16th October as part of the Voices of the Landscape project in collaboration with the Barnsley writers and the Penistone Poets.
The concert itself featured a storyboard of wonderful poetry and narrations, punctuated by extracts of my score for bass guitar and bass voice.
My ideas for Wentworth Cantata began as visual sketches rather than musical notation. An interest in the Capability Brown inspired modelling of the landscape and the architecture of the building itself led me to an alternate way of displaying material for the performers.
The score consists of lines and shapes traced directly from large scale maps of the area surrounding Wentworth Castle. The performer is free to create their own journey through the hypothetical landscape using the 14 ‘micro’ pieces which can be manipulated in various ways and played in any order.
Just as the architecture of the building is made up of multiple wings which were built at different times over recent centuries, several of the sections are taken from musical works of the past which correspond to the dates of the buildings. The voice part consists of both spoken and sung material in ballad form which gives a narrative consistency to the work. I commissioned the text from John Anstie (https://poetjanstie.wordpress.com/) who was also the vocalist for this project.
You can see the individual fragments from the various compositions labelled adjacent to each module on the score, as well as an example of how the landscape is abstractly translated onto the page.
Future extensions of Voices of the Landscape will hopefully include more performances at Wentworth Castle itself (perhaps in the gardens… weather permitting!) a published book containing poems from the project along with my score and finally, a project involving the software ‘Google Maps’ to pin audio to areas of landscape for the public to explore digitally.
This project was hugely rewarding and being able to stand beside my work after the concert rounded off the achievement.
Photo credit: Emily Needle
I’d like to say thank you once again to Shaun Davies for organising what was a great concert at the Wonder Inn on Wednesday night, and to the performers who played my music so brilliantly.
Next Wednesday, a concert at the Wonder Inn will showcase the music of myself and two other composers from the RNCM (Aled Smith and Caroline Bordignon). The organiser is Shaun Davies and more information on the event can be found via the link below:
I’m very excited that the programme of my work will consist of three pieces that have been recorded but never performed live. One of my earliest works and a piece for solo piano will be also be revived alongside these premieres.
Ephemeris for solo piano (2012) and I and II from Five Pieces/Colour in Water (2016) – performed by Daniel Portal:
In Ephemeris, my main aim was to fuse two contrasting sets of material to see how they ‘interacted’ with each other. The first consists of angular, arpeggiated motifs which continually jolt the mood and texture. The second is developed through a process of interval expansion from a single 6 note motif, and a steady pulsating passage of crotchets evolves in several interweaving voices into larger body of material.
I and II are miniatures from a larger set of works written in 2016. The first is a disarming simple melody, leading into the more agitated fiery qualities of the latter piece.
A Monologue in Five Short Sections for solo bass clarinet (2014) – performed by Joshua Warhurst:
This short piece treats the instrument as a skittish and capricious individual, whose thoughts are explored (as the title suggests) through an internal monologue. The material constantly alternates between volatility and fragility.
Interjections for saxophone quartet (2012) – performed by the Jabeliah Saxophone Quartet:
Interjections consists of a musical gesture gradually breaking down into staggered entries across all instruments. Once set in motion, the breakdown process appears uninterrupted as one by one the performers cease to play and the music gradually ‘fades’ to nothing.
I hope to see you there!