Musician of the Month: Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian
What was the inspiration for your first Handel House commission ‘The Battle of Eve’?
The Eve of Battle concert contains my first Handel House commission. The show presents duelling storytellers arguing their version of Eve, drawing from similar characters of Ancient Greece, to modern scientists. The commission, En Garde, sets the harpsichord and hang to duel. I’ve developed the renaissance practice of Augenmusik to create a score in which the art dictates the structure. My favourite bit is a round, written as a square, which spins. You’ll have to come along to see what I mean!
Why “The Art of the Duel”?
I was interested to hear about the rivalries of Handel’s age – not just the divas whose portraits hang in his music room, but Handel himself. His competition with Giovanni Bononcini was the origin of ‘tweedle dum & tweedle dee’ in John Byrom’s poem! Jimi Hendrix’s showy solos once caused Eric Clapton to stomp off stage, so this fun theme seemed suitable to the House.
“The Art of the Duel” showcases many genres of music, including classical but also electronic, folk, and jazz. Why did you choose these diverse settings for the duels?
The duelling of Hendrix and Handel often centred around their ability to improvise and innovate, so I selected musicians who are blazing new trails in this field, regardless of genre. I have big ears and I see very few boundaries in music. I think Handel and Hendrix were open-minded too, towards influences and audiences, and achieved lasting popularity as a result.
Handel and Hendrix have a duel- who would win?
To have a fair fight they’d have to play the same instrument, and Handel has yet to learn electric guitar.
What inspires you as a composer and performer?
A desire to balance gravity with levity; ancient history; collaboration; improvisation; humour; art and dance; line; story.
What do you think is special about Handel House?
It has a remarkable history, and its domestic setting inspires a creative sense of sharing, rather than ‘presenting’. it is quite rare to find a small museum with an interactive residency programme – a treat for artists and audiences to get to know each other.