Spring in Nicosia

Posted on March 25th, 2015 by


About to start an exciting few days in Nikosia-under the benevolent light of Pharos. Tomorrow, Beethoven Op 18, 119, 132 with Mihailo Trandafilovski?, Morgan Goff? and Neil Heyde. The following day, my exhibit ‘A Flash Between Darknesses’ opens, and there’s a a concert (also with Morgan) linked to the exhibition, two days later-Mozart, Rob Keeley, Sadie Harrison, Thomas Simaku, Nigel Clarke, David Matthews, and poetry by Malene Sheppard Skaerved, and Guy Gallo?. This project would not be happening without the vision and energy of Garo Keheyan? and Yvonne Georgiadou?. here’s where the exhibit began-after my return from Cyprus in December, I found myself amongst the ancient settlements and ceremonial spaces of the far west of Cornwall. There seemed to be a profound linke-and this picture ‘Bos’ (Cornish, and old Borse, for dwelling, was my first response to both)

IMG_4904_EditedIt was because of Garo Keheyan, that Malene Skaerved and I met Joanna Jones, who has become such an important collaborator and inspiration for us, and many other artists. In 2010, Joanne and sat on a balcony overlooking the surreal tragedy of the ‘Green Line’ in Nikosia, and talked and talked and talked. This was the beginning of our collaboration.

Ruin. Nikosia 2nd September 2010

Ruin. Nikosia 2nd September 2010 -with Joanna Jones

 

Evening 25th March-Shoe Factory. Nikosia

Arrival in Nikosia, and just out of Larnaca, our taxi overheats. Cue Kreutzer Quartet by side of road in the moonlight, somewhere in Cyprus. The glamour. And the the replacement wheels roll up-plastic champagne glasses, retracting TV screens, diamante, and lighting which shows off Neil Heyde and Mihailo Trandafilovski at their best.'Don't make a fuss-get on the bus' (that dates me)

Arrival in Nikosia, and just out of Larnaca, our taxi overheats. Cue Kreutzer Quartet by side of road in the moonlight, somewhere in Cyprus. The glamour. And the the replacement wheels roll up-plastic champagne glasses, retracting TV screens, diamante, and lighting which shows off Neil Heyde and Mihailo Trandafilovski at their best.’Don’t make a fuss-get on the bus’ (that dates me)

Arrived here after an interrupted taxi drive from Nikosia; boiler overheated, giving the quartet the chance to stand by the side of the motorway in the moonlight and tell bad jokes. Then arrival at the calm of the Shoe Factory, supper and conversation with Garo Keheyan, and catching up on correspondence. On the plane on the way over, I indulged in Book 1 of the Odyssey, all about unwelcome guests-not something I ever experience here. Tomorrow, work starts, with an educational workshop in the morning and the the all Beethoven concert in the evening. We will be performing David Matthew’s astonishing transcription of the Op 119 Bagatelles-the world premiere, after our recording earlier this year. Listen here:

Beethoven/David Matthews-11 New Bagatelles Op 119
Kreutzer Quartet-Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Morgan Goff, Neil Heyde)

26th March Nikosia

Memories of the Angevin reign over Cyprus are everywere

Memories of the Angevin reign over Cyprus are everywere. Nikosia 26 3 15

A lovely morning, and my day begins with this, a film which Harvard Museums have posted bout Neil Heyde’s project there, last month.

We spent a happy hour playing and talking with a group of students from two schools. The conversation was centred around the question of ‘Bagatelles’, and ranged from issues of emotion in music, distinction between classical and popular musical language, music as healing, and many other things. I always learn so much in these fora. After that, lunch at a local place, very traditional and fresh-Jerusalem Artichokes, Squid Stew, Lentil and Rice, Chickpea Soup, and the wonderful salad. A great start to the afternoon rehearsing Op 132 Beethoven.

Talking about Beethoven under a wonderful painting by Joanna Jones 26 3 15

Talking about Beethoven under a wonderful painting by Joanna Jones 26 3 15

Workshop in the Shoe Gallery 26 3 15

Workshop in the Shoe Gallery 26 3 15

The quartet had a wonderfully relaxed day of preparation, alternating between the workshop, rehearsal, and a lunch at a cafe around the corner-Squid Stew, the freshest salad, Jerusalem Artichokes, Chickpea Soup; a rare opportunity for overbusy London musicians to have a quiet day getting ready for a concert. 

Freesias from the garden. Nikosia 27 3 15

Freesias from the garden. Nikosia 27 3 15

There is a magic about a Pharos concert at this venue-which has the clearest acoustics, and offers the opportunity to share music with the audience in great intimacy. This seems to be a of greatest importance with a piece like the ‘Heiliger Dankgesang’, which is a shared ritual for players and listeners-not a performance. Everyone in the room needs to take part to be lifted by the piece. That seemed to happen in the concert.

After cocert meal, in the Shoe Factory

After concert meal, in the Shoe Factory

 

27th March

Home from Home. Coffee on Ermou, outside the Shoe Factory 27 3 15

Home from Home. Coffee on Ermou, outside the Shoe Factory 27 3 15

First encounter with my first exhibition ‘A Flash Between Darknesses’ at the Pharos Gallery today. I spent a happy hour oh so talking with wonderful Gymnasium Students who came to see the new show, and to talk about painting and music. I played Sadie Harrison, Michael Hersch, Bach and Torelli.

First sight of 'A Flash between Darknessess

First sight of ‘A Flash between Darknessess

The students asked such probing and useful questions, and spookily, saw things in the pictures, which I thought that I had hidden successfully-my obsession with forests, the turbulence in the pictures.

With 'Sitting Vigil' (for Guy)

With ‘Sitting Vigil’ (for Guy)

It’s clear that young people have no problem negotiating the link, between the art and music

The most important collaborators. The hope for the future. And, talking with teenagers these days, I am very hopeful

The most important collaborators. The hope for the future. And, talking with teenagers these days, I am very hopeful

There was interesting conversation about the absence of figures in the paintings, as the students had worked out from my online work, that I am very interested, passionate even, about drawing people. They then found them, everywhere in the pictures-I had not put them there. There were the really difficult questions, but important for children: What’s your favourite colour? And the first picture they seized on to discuss, was the one I had agonised about the most, almost not put in the show. So I went to through the agony again. Then my interrogator told me that the picture was about war, and showed me the blood. Now I can’t see anything else in it!

Looking 27 3 15

ALooking 27 3 15

After this, I met with the wonderful Evis Sammoutis to discuss our ‘Nikosia Concerto’ project more, and to have a little lunch. Here’s a link to the project-films and recordings. LINK

Then, back to the Gallery for the opening.

Playing at the opening of 'A Flash Between Darknesses'. Pharos  Gallery 28 3 2015

Playing at the opening of ‘A Flash Between Darknesses’. Pharos Gallery 28 3 2015

On Sunday I will be playing Evis Sammoutis’ wonderful ‘Monogenesis’ for solo vioin. Here is a performance that I gave in March 2007 at the Hellenic Centre in London.

Evis Sammoutis-Monogenesis Peter Sheppard Skaerved – (Stradivari 1699 (Crespi)

Saturday 28th March

The Green line offers assurance that Nature will win out against human stupidity 28 3 15

The Green line offers assurance that Nature will win out against human stupidity 28 3 15

A day of practice and exploration. I spent time looking at post 1st Crusade archicture on the north side of the Green line, particulary around the Selimye Mosque/Agia Sophia complex.

Sitting in the porch of Aya Sofiya/Selimye Mosque 28 3 15

Sitting in the porch of Aya Sofiya/Selimye Mosque 28 3 15

The building is layer upon layer of accretion and ‘scraping’ away. After 1570, most human faces were obliterated, and the process of reinterpreted the building, refocusing it, both in terms of use and perception of history, continues to this day, like so  many contested cultural artefacts.

Buttress 28 3 15

Buttress 28 3 15

29th March-Concert Day

An enchanted morning alternating practice and yoga on the roof of the Shoe Factory. I was pleased to have made a usable score for my version of Malene Skaerved’s ‘new year memories’.

The new version on the right. Malene Skaerved 'New Year Memories' 29 3 15

The new version on the right. Malene Skaerved ‘New Year Memories’ 29 3 15

Then, an aqueduct near the Famagusta gate, and fading UN paint at the ‘Buffer Zone’

Aqueduct C18th Famagusta Gate 29 3 15

Aqueduct C18th Famagusta Gate 29 3 15

Checkpoint 29 3 15

Checkpoint
29 3 15

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