Life after a commission
Many composers will tell you that it’s good to get a commission, but even better to get a repeat performance. It’s inspiring that Handel’s Messiah was such a sell-out in Dublin, it had to be repeated in London. Handel did write flops though, and was smart enough to recycle the best bits of them when hurriedly writing the Messiah!
The reason I’m going on about 2nd performances is that ‘Dividuels’, a piece by Richard Bullen which I was proud to première in Handel House, got another outing at the Cello Factory, in London’s Waterloo, with Ellie Fagg, Tom Norris of the LSO, Gregor Riddell, and a Handel-diva appearance from my sister Ziazan (pictured, haughtily).
The piece was made for players to perform simultaneously in different rooms within Handel House, so I was impressed to see how well it adapted to different, and equally beautiful, architecture.
I won’t say too much about the piece, as I’ve filmed an interview with Richard, which I’ll post soon, so he can tell you himself.
We also shared the space with the art of Maya Ramsay, who transplants the wall surfaces from derelict and dangerous buildings.
There was an eerie, skin-thin piece of Bletchley Park hanging behind us, so I decided to give ‘From The Unseen World’ a 2nd performance – a piece I wrote based on a postcard sent by Alan Turing (pictured below).
I performed it at Handel House last year, and this time Gregor Riddell and I overlaid a simple harmonic pattern, which I hope Turing would have appreciated. It was certainly a moving experience for me, as a great admirer of his work, and courage.
I’ve got to get back to preparing for a concert in Handel’s music room tomorrow with Liam Byrne (viol da gamba), and putting the finishing touches on my final CiR concert series this November!