Release day!

Volume I of ‘100 Years of British Song’, a three-CD project with tenor James Gilchrist for SOMM Recordings, is released today, 16 October 2020. 

You can now listen to the tracks on Spotify and Apple Music. It is an Apple Music featured new release in their #Modernism category. You can find further information to purchase the CD on the SOMM website.

100 Years of British Song Volume I playlist:

Gustav Holst:
A Vigil of Pentecost (Alice M. Buckton) (1914)
The Ballad of Hunting Knowe (E. A. Ramsden) (1920s)
From Twelve Humbert Wolfe Songs (1929):
A Little Music
The Dream-City
The Floral Bandit

Rebecca Clarke:
June Twilight (John Masefield) (1925)
The Seal Man (John Masefield, from ‘A Mainsail Haul’) (1922)
A Dream (W. B. Yeats) (1926)
Eight O’Clock (A. E. Housman) (1927)

Ivor Gurney:
Down by the Salley Gardens (W. B. Yeats) (1920)
Snow (Edward Thomas) (1912)
Lights Out (Edward Thomas) (1919)
Sleep (John Fletcher) (1913)

Frank Bridge:
Four Songs (1925)

BBC Radio 3 Pick of the Best New Classical Releases

The first volume of ‘100 Years of British Song’, a three CD project with tenor James Gilchrist for SOMM Recordings is due to be released on Friday, 16 October 2020. It has been chosen as the pick of the best new classical releases on BBC Radio 3. Click here and scroll through to about 8:15, when they begin a very generous playing of three of the tracks from the CD.

Photo above was taken during rehearsals at Sophie’s Barn in preparation for the recording of ‘100 Years of British Song’.

Live Music at Southwold Primary School

Following their popular musical evenings on Southwold’s South Green, Magnus and Marije Johnston (two violinists from the distinguished Navarra Quartet, currently living in Southwold) and Nathan Williamson gave a concert for the children at Southwold Primary School on 1st October. It was fantastic to see the children having a wonderful time and experiencing live music, and understanding more about how violins work, what they are made of, and the wonderful variety of sounds they can make! This tied in very nicely with the children’s science project for the term which is all about the nature of sound and how it is made. Magnus, Marije and Nathan hope that it will be the first concert of many in local schools, although as the concert had to be held outdoors it might have to evolve into a music and movement class so the children don’t get too chilly come November!

New arrangement of Homecoming

Homecoming was originally written for solo violin in 2008 for Piotr Szewczyk’s Violin Futura project, in which he commissioned a ton of new violin pieces. This arrangement was made especially for Magnus and Marije Johnston, to play in the South Green Soirees in Southwold during lockdown.

Homecoming is exactly what it says. In the original for solo violin it was a two-voice duet. Not that this necessarily means the homecoming is an interaction between two characters as such – a return someplace is as often an inner working out as much as an external one – but in this new arrangement the dialogue between two instruments (as opposed to two voices within one instrument) casts the expression in a different way. Its more romantic, and the two voices intertwine more obviously.

Nonetheless, its not as simple and peaceful a piece as you might expect, to my mind anyway – but it does find a resolution and, above all, a cohesion between the two parts. Coming home is not necessarily a straightforward process – if it were, the piece could just be a perfect cadence. 

A performance of the piece can be found on the media page.