Il Ritorno in London and on Dartmoor January 2016
In 2013, I began an exciting new project with my friend and collaborator, the composer Michael Alec Rose. This involved spending time walking on, talking about, looking at, and listening to Dartmoor. You can see the early stages of the project here. LINK
In January 2016, Michael and I returned to the Moor, to, effectively, put the finishing piece on the resulting piece. ‘Il Ritorno’ is now a six-movement work for violin alone, lasting about 35 minutes. It will be premiered on the 18th June in a concert Moretonhampstead Church, a concert promoted by the National Park Authority.
Michael Alec Rose arrived in the UK, on Thursday 7th January, and came straight from the airport to the Royal Academy of Music, Museum, where I interviewed him as part of my SoundBox series. The conversation was enlivened by the presence of his namesake, composer Gregory Rose, (whose piece I premiered at the National Portrait Gallery in 2015)LINK
Immediately following the Academy Session, we met up with pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar, and walked over to BBC Broadcasting House. Radio 3 had invited us to present my ‘Mozart Salons’ and Michael’s work on the In-Tune programme. Michael spoke movingly about his love of the Moor, and I premiered ‘Song’, the postlude to Il Ritorno.
Michael Rose on ‘In Tune’
Performances at Wilton’s Music Hall
Michael Alec Rose Stone
On the following day, Michael joined us at the sold-out Wilton’s Music Hall, for the first of our ‘Mozart Salons’. I played his ‘Stone’ and ‘Song’ as the centre of the concert. These were received with great enthusiasm by the packed audience. Michael has developed a strong relationship with the Wilton’s audience and architecture over the years-we have premiered a number of his pieces, there, including ‘An Arch never Sleeps’, which was written for me and the bassist Chi-Chi Nwanoku.
Early the next morning we met at Paddington Station to take the train to Exmoor, and drove up to Manaton, where were staying. By Noon, we were out on the moor, walking to Wistman’s Wood. It’s no understatement to say that the moor threw its worst at us, and by the end of the walk we were sodden, frozen and happy. There’s one thing about this astonishing environment; the fragility of human existence is made very clear.
Wistman’s Wood itself, is an astonishing world. Ancient, stunted oaks, find purchase in the relative shelter of the valley in the midst of a spectacular granite fall, the whole draped with lichen, moss, and ferns. (A savage place, as e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted, By woman wailing for her demon lover’)
After drying ourselves off, we drove over to Moretonhampstead Church, where I gave a salon performance of Michael’s work to some of the people who will be presenting our performance there in June.
Peter Shepard Skaerved-Violin Amati 1629