I met the composer Paul Pellay when we were both students at the Royal Academy of Music. At that time, although I was involved in performances of some of his music, we did not develop a collaboration. That had to wait for some years.
Recording Engineer: Jonathan Haskell (Astounding Sounds)
This was one of the pieces written for my 2006 British Museum project. It will be played there again on the 14th October. Follow the link:http://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/british-museum-photos-by-richard-bram/
In 2002, the Deutches Museum in Munich invited me to present a concert specifically linked to their Astronomy Gallery. I had made contact with Paul again, and invited him to write a miniature for solo violin for this project. That year, the autumnal swing through the Perseids was particularly impressive. Paul was inspired by this and wrote a spectacular ‘short’, a totally effective virtuoso work couched in a spectacularly assured and individual language.
I was very excited by this piece, and asked Paul if he might consider writing some more. He was oddly diffident at first. However, the reason for his hesitation soon became clear. “I think,” he said, “I think that I will be writing a lot more pieces-the floodgates are opening.” This, as it turned out, was a colossal understatement. Over the next two years, this germ of a piece blossomed into a seven-book set of works-The Thesaurus of Violinistic Fiendishness.
The Thesaurus is one of the most colourful and technically challenging works ever written for the violin. Each of the seven books has a particular character, or set of references. There is a book based on Goya’s Black Paintings, one based, line by line, on an Unagaretti poem. There are more then a few political pieces, not a few of them aimed at the then Republican Adminstration. President G W Bush is the target of not one but two of these highly satirical movements. The second of these, Grand Triumphal March for the Texan Devil, is written on three staves-one for the violin, one for stamping, and the other for body percussion. Perhaps the most moving and atmospheric movement comes in the book which references the time which Paul spent in Memphis. This book contains Ice Particles Descend , a violinistic evocation of the slow terror and beauty of an ice storm.
Paul Pellay – Fjord-Flamm Remembered-Flecks (2008)
Paul Pellay was profoundly influenced by the beauty of the Norwegian fjords, and wrote us these three tiny pieces of awestruck wonder.
PSS-Violin, Morgan Goff-Viola, Neil Heyde-Cello
Recorded 23rd March South London Gallery
Recording Engineer-Jonathan Haskell (Astounding Sounds)
Paul is currently working on an evening-long ‘instrumental opera’ for the Kreutzer Quartet.