Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust presents:
Welcome to Alternative Worlds – the music of Hugh Shrapnel, at London’s Morley College.
I’m delighted to be hosting this concert. Hugh Shrapnel is one of the most original composing voices I know, as well as a good friend, and with the richness and variety of his work (with moods ranging from music hall levity to Autumnal profundity!), I know the programme will be a highly enjoyable one. I hope you have a wonderful evening with us.
A RETROSPECTIVE OF THE MUSIC OF HUGH SHRAPNEL
FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2018
THE HOLST ROOM
MORLEY COLLEGE LONDON
Part of the Morley College Planets Festival of Arts and Culture, celebrating the centenary of the first performance of The Planets by Gustav Holst. Introduced by Sarah Walker.
Songs, Fanfares & Other Things
Follow Me Up to Carlow
trombone & piano
The Buggy Army & Hunt Hunt
Love Sonnets of a Building Worker
For James Allen
violin & piano
violin & piano
Health & Calm Choir
violin & piano
Quartet De Madrugada
string quartet & folk fiddle
These little piano pieces were written in 1972 when I was in the Scratch Orchestra; they were revised in the mid-1980s and first performed by myself at a concert of my piano music at the British Music Information Centre (BMIC) on December 1, 1994. Each piece has a continuous unchanging figure in the left hand.
The first of my suite for piano duet South of the River, evocations of various parts of South East London’. Oxleas Wood is a 7000 year old wood up the hill from Blackheath and Greenwich and was written in support of a successful local campaign to save the wood having a motorway carved through it.
Songs, Fanfares and Other Things
These four short pieces for solo alto trombone were written for Alan Tomlinson with his playing very much in mind. They were first performed by him at the 10th London New Wind Festival in 2007.
This piece was written in response to the election of the Coalition Government in 2010. A cheerful little trombone tune (echoed by the piano) represents the working people in their battle against the coalition government’s imposition of austerity, the piece ending with a slow triumphant rendering of the ‘people tune’. Dedicated to Alan Tomlinson, it was first performed by him at the 14th London New Wind Festival in 2011.
Follow Me Up to Carlow
This piece for 2 pianos was written for and dedicated to the Ivory Duo for their Morley College concert In Step With The Times presented by the Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust in 2016 in memory of James Allen, the founder and first secretary of CCCT who died in 2012. The music is based on the old Irish song which celebrates the defeat of an army of 3000 English soldiers by Fiach Mac Aodha Ó Broin (anglicised to Fiach McHugh O’Byrne) at the battle of Glenmalure during the Second Desmond Rebellion in 1580 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1. The piece seeks to express the spirit of the Irish freedom fighters against the British occupiers.
These two piano pieces, dedicated to Sarah Walker, were first performed by her at a BMIC concert in 1990. The first piece is a Keatsian ‘Ode to Autumn’, the shifting harmonies reflecting the changing tints of autumn leaves. The second, much longer piece depicts an autumnal storm and its aftermath – the swirl of autumn leaves ending with the bare trees and chill of winter.
Written for and dedicated to the Ivory Duo and written for the concert In Step with the Times organised by the Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust, celebrating the life and work of Cornelius Cardew. Cardew was a tutor in experimental music at Morley College from 1968 to 1973, and the Holst Room was the venue for these classes. Alternative Worlds’was inspired by the spirit of Cardew as a fighter for a better world and pathfinder in opening up a new music to express this vision.
The Buggy Army & Hunt Hunt
These two pieces were written for the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign (SLHC) which successfully defeated the Secretary of Health Jeremy Hunt’s plan to close this South East
in 2013. The Buggy Army is an arrangement of a song from an opera I’m writing about the SLHC, with its Secretary, Olivia O’Sullivan. The Buggy Army was a protest by young mums, dads and their children on a very cold day in January 2013 who marched down Whitehall to the Ministry of Health to confront Hunt. Hunt Hunt for piano duet was used in a video made by the film maker Stuart Monro Victory For Lewisham. Stuart, an enthusiastic supporter of the Campaign sadly died in September last year and this performance is dedicated to his memory. The piece quotes a song sung on the two big SLHC demonstrations in Lewisham Who do you think you are kidding Mr Kershaw (to the Dads Army signature tune), Kershaw being the local health administrator whose plan it was to downgrade Lewisham Hospital.
Love Sonnet of a Building Worker
An arrangement for violin and piano of the first song of a song cycle I wrote in the late 1990s, settings of a cycle of 34 sonnets by the Scottish communist poet John Maharg, an old friend and comrade who died in 2004. It was first performed by Lesley Larkum and Michael Chant in their concert The Heart’s Response at Schotts Music Publishers on November 7, 2008.
This very brief piece for violin and piano is based on themes of Shostakovich’s 12th Symphony ‘The Year 1917’ celebrating the October Revolution. It was written at the request of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and first performed by Lesley Larkum and Michael Chant at a concert, being dedicated to all anti-fascist resistance fighters, at a concert of CPC(ML) in August 2017 in Ottawa. It was written at the request of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and first performed by Lesley Larkum and Michael Chant at a concert of CPC(ML) in August 2017 in Ottawa, being dedicated to all anti-fascist resistance fighters.
An arrangement for singers, violin and piano of Hanns Eisler’s international worker’s song to words by Berthold Brecht written in the 1930s, still sung by workers throughout the world today. This arrangement was also first performed at the CPC(ML) concert in August 2017.
For James Allen
This piece for solo viola was written for the concert “Music to Relieve the Mind” at Morley on July 12, 2014 (the third annual concert dedicated to the memory of James Allen) and was performed by Lesley Larkum.
Easter Rising 1916
This piece was written for the Morley College concert put on by CCCT to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016. It is an extended work depicting the background, the Rising itself and its aftermath and significance. The music of the actual uprising is dominated by the tune of We Only Want the Earth, a revolutionary song by James Connolly, one of the leaders of the Rising. The 1919 song The Foggy Dew, played on the fiddle near the end of the piece, expresses the spirit and significance of the Rising and the cause of Irish freedom.
Hugh Shrapnel was born in Birmingham in 1947 and studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music with Norman Demuth and Cornelius Cardew. Under the influence of Cardew Shrapnel became increasingly interested in experimental music, joining Cardew’s experimental music class at Morley and the Scratch Orchestra and playing in many experimental groups including the Promenade Theatre Orchestra, with John White, Chris Hobbs and Alec Hill. In the 1970s he joined Cardew playing the oboe in People’s Liberation Music and the PCA Band along with Cardew, Laurie Baker and others. Shrapnel, along with many other composers, was inspired by Cardew’s search for a genuinely new music which reflected the desire for a better world. Like Cardew as well as being a composer, he has been politically active, most recently in the campaign to save the NHS.
Over the years, Shrapnel’s music has drawn on many musical styles and traditions including folk music, music hall and jazz, as well as the classical tradition and experimental music. His music is characterised by a strong feeling for community, particularly South East London where he has lived most of his life, lyricism, wit and humour, love of nature and support for the struggles of the people.
Sarah Walker is one of the most recognisable voices on BBC Radio 3. She is currently the regular host of Sunday Morning. She is well known for her interviews, not just with leading composers and performers but with a variety of celebrities ranging from politicians and poets to movie stars. Sarah was born in Barnsley, and studied at Royal Holloway College and Reading University. She gained a PhD for her research into English Experimental Music, often playing an active role as a performer, and in recent years her musical activities have included jazz piano and singing. Sarah has also written several volumes of keyboard music for young players, inspired by her work as a teacher.
Michael Chant is Secretary of the Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust. He first worked with Hugh in 1968, participating in the Morley College experimental music class from 1968-1973, and was a member of the Scratch Orchestra from the beginning in 1969. As an organist, he has been closely associated with performances of The Great Learning by Cornelius Cardew. He, like Hugh, and as Cornelius did, combines being a musician with being active in the communist and workers’ movement.
Elif Karlidag began her musical education in Bucharest, Romania. She studied composition at Izmir Dokuz Eylul State Conservatory in Turkey, graduating in 2004, and completing her Masters degree there in 2007. Since 1992, she has given piano recitals and concerts in Romania, Turkey and London. Elif has lived and worked in London from 2008, pursuing her interest in New Music. Her compositions have been performed at a number of concerts at Morley College sponsored by the Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust.
Ruth Shrapnel has been teaching piano and music theory since 1977. She was also a piano accompanist for singers in Brighton at that time. She gained a BMus degree at Goldsmiths College and played in many concerts of new music there. Since 1993 she has taught piano at Bromley Youth Music Trust. Over the years she has played in many concerts of contemporary music, notably Hugh Shrapnel’s music.
Alan Tomlinson plays the tenor and alto trombones. He began playing improvised music in Manchester and by early 80’s was an active member of the London and European improvised music scene. Member of Tony Oxley’s Angular Apron, Peter Brotzmann’s Alarm, and a long-time member of Barry Guy’s London Jazz Composers Orchestra. He has played festivals, concerts and broadcasts throughout Europe with many different ensembles and continues to do solo gigs. He has also worked professionally in most fields of music and as a member of the contemporary music groups New London Winds and Sounds Positive has given many first performances of pieces written for him.
Lesley Larkum is an Australian-British musician active as a violinist and composer in London. After studying in her native Sydney, she came to London to study conducting at the Royal College of Music and also completed a Masters degree in ethnomusicography. She has been active in the political movement in Britain for over 20 years, and has participated along with Hugh Shrapnel and Michael Chant in developing music and performance in step with today’s times. She holds the post of Head of Strings at Dulwich College.
Jo Cooper grew up listening to the sounds of the sea, the wind rattling sash windows and mysterious creaks in an old farm house in wild west Wales. She played traditional Irish and Welsh music on the fiddle and tin whistle for years before moving to the north east of England, where her horizons expanded to include other European and North American traditions. She regularly performs with The Old Time Wasters, Ceilidh Tree, and Laura Victoria, and teaches folk music across the country, as well as composing and occasionally performing in a contemporary classical style.
Johan Höglind is a graduate of the Royal College of Music, and is much in demand as a soloist and chamber musician.
The Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble was formed by Natalie Tsaldarakis and Panayotis Archontides shortly after their marriage in 1994. After individual studies in Greece, Australia and the US, the pianists were coached by Elena Riu and Martino Tirimo as a duo at Trinity Laban and Morley College. The duo has broadcast on Greek National Radio and TV and on Resonance FM 104.4. Important international collaborations include those with Mikis Theodorakis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Michael Chant, Douglas Finch, George Hadjinikos, James Judd, Nadia Lasserson, Ian Pace, and Lola Perrin. Natalie and Panayotis have performed at a number of Morley College concerts sponsored by the Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust, demonstrating their dedication and professionalism.
The members of the Quartet De Madrugada performing tonight are Lesley Larkum (violin), Luca Franchi (violin), Johan Höglind (viola) and Jane Hyland (cello). The quartet in 2016 performed a concert of new music at Morley College organised by the Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust to mark the Centenary of the Easter Rising, which included Hugh Shrapnel’s Easter Rising 1916. Last year, the quartet joined forces with the Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble at Morley College in a concert of music for piano duo and string quartet.
The Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust was set up on June 6, 2008. It became a registered charity on June 20, 2016. Its object is to finance concerts of the music of Cornelius Cardew, and encourage the writing and performance of new music which champions the enlightenment and progress of which Cornelius Cardew was a pathfinder. The trust works for the advancement of education in new music for the public benefit.
For more information about the Cornelius Cardew Concerts Trust visit http://www.cornelius-cardew-concerts-trust.org.uk
Registered charity no. 1167744
Ticket revenue goes to Morley College to cover expenses. Please donate to the Cornelius Cardew Concerts at the end of the concert to contribute to its work.
FUTURE CONCERTS SPONSORED BY
THE CORNELIUS CARDEW CONCERTS TRUST
ONE WORLD: the Seventh annual concert in memory of James Allen; new compositions for piano quintet commissioned by the CCCT.
Performed by Luis Parés (piano) and the Quartet De Madrugada
Friday, October 5, 2018, 7.30pm; Morley College
The Complete String Quartets of Howard Skempton and Michael Chant.
Performed by the Eusebius Quartet
Monday, April 29, 2019; Kings Place
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