Peter Sheppard Skærved Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:32:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Scordatura explored in DELITIAE PHILOSOPHICAE ET MATHEMATICAE Der Philosophischen und Mathematischen Erquickstunden -1653 Harsdörffer, Georg Philipp & Berns, Jörg Jochen Fri, 14 Jul 2017 14:48:21 +0000

Peg box of the 16th Century violin revealing the original three peg holes

Music from DELITIAE PHILOSOPHICAE ET MATHEMATICAE Der Philosophischen und Mathematischen Erquickstunden – 1653
Harsdörffer, Georg Philipp & Berns, Jörg Jochen

Johannes Welltern – Allemanda (Scordatura) G D G B

Violin attrib to Gaspar da Salo (doubtful)- 16th century Brescian (?)- originally 3 String

Peter Sheppard Skaerved – Workshop recording (Wapping 14 7 17)

Reverse of scroll with traces of incised decoration

Treble side F hole

Bass side bouts and back


Recording Michael Finnissy 13 7 17 Outtakes UNEDITED Fri, 14 Jul 2017 12:57:13 +0000

Day of wonder. Recording Michael Finnissy’s exquisite Clarinet Quintet ‘Liederkreis’ and String Quartet ‘Civilisation’ with the composer, LInda Merrick, Neil Heyde, Clifton Harrison, Mihailo Trandafilovski in HIghgate. Outtakes to follow. So privileged to spend decades working with this extraordinary composer and to have such a team of friends to work with. St Michael’s HIghgate 13 7 17

Michael Finnissy –  ‘Liederkreis Quintet’ 2016 (Clarinet Quintet)

I.Poco Allegretto

II.Largo appassionato

III. Folklorico: quasi parlando

IV. Vigoroso

V. Each performer independently: A capriccio

Michael Finnissy – ‘Civilisation’ 2013 (String Quartet)








Kreutzer Quartet with Linda Merrick Clarinet
Musical supervision: Michael Finnissy
Engineer-Jonathan Haskell
St Michael’s Highgate, London
13 7 17

Preludes & Vollenteries 1 Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:09:24 +0000 Works for solo violin including.

The astonishing, italianate dome of St Stephen Walbrook. Photo PSS

Heinrich Biber – Passacaglia (Mystery Sonata XVI) ‘Guardian Angel, companion of Mankind’ and others by Tomasso Vitali, Giuseppe Torelli, Nicola Matteis, Biagio Marini

Played on a violin by Girolamo Amati (1628)

Plus world premiere

Peter Sheppard Skærved – ‘voil qe’m digaz cals mais vos plaz’ (Lombarda of Toulouse)

Peter Sheppard Skærved begins his exploration of the 17th Century violin, inspired by the astonishing churches of the Square Mile. This series of salons will explores the dialogue between the great architecture of Wren, Hawksmoor and Hooke, and the work of the violin makers and composers whose instruments and music flooded in the London in the years after the Restoration.

St Stephen Walbrook is one of the most unashamedly Italianate of Wren’s astonishing City churches. It is the perfect space to hear one of the great early 17th Century Cremonese violins, by Girolamo Amati, in a salon programme focussing on the Northern Italian violin style of the 1600s.

Next concert in the Series:

Preludes & Vollenteries 2: St Margaret Lothbury, 29th September 2017 6pm

Tickets (limited number) available on Eventbrite and on the door, or reservations from

Inspired by Lusignian Cyprus. Three pieces/films Nicosia June 2017 Thu, 06 Jul 2017 11:53:15 +0000 No 1. Peter Sheppard Skaerved – ‘ben vos posc ver dir’/(Tibors d’Orange e de Baux) ca. 1160

No. 2. Peter Sheppard Skaerved- ‘voil qe’m digaz cals mais vos plaz’/(Lombarda of Toulouse ca. 1200) or:
The fowls of Lusignan (St Poulain/Buyuk Hamam)

No 3. Peter Sheppard Skaerved – ‘Ar em al freg temps vengut’/Text by Azailais de Porcairages (Born 1140)

Luca Alessandrini’s silk violin at the Building Centure. Photos and film by Marius Skaerved Wed, 05 Jul 2017 16:57:24 +0000 Luca Alessandrini’s silk violin at the Building Centure. Photos and film by Marius Skaerved

4 7 17

With thanks to Colin Tweedy OBE, Chief Executive of the Building Centre and all of his welcoming staff and team at this amazing resource!

Close up of the silk violin

Playing the 1685 small Stradivari

Luca Alessandrini and Peter Sheppard Skaerved in conversation

Peter and Luca waiting to begin

Comparing Amati and Stradivari

Working with graphs of resonances

Luca in conversation with a fascinating and fascinated audience


Explaining the research

Luca Alessandrini’s silk violin at the Building Centure. Photos and film by Marius Skaerved

4 7 17


July 2017 Mon, 03 Jul 2017 11:11:21 +0000

Talking & watching. Smithfield – solitary lunch with a book 8 7 17

A good day ( for many reasons) of conversation, walking, watching, from here to Westminster and back. 20 7 17

17 7 17 Stones of St Nicholas/Bedesten/ for Evis Sammoutis & Garo Keheyan

View of The Shard to the Cheesegrater, seen from LImehouse Reach. 9 7 17

Conversation/overnight 14 7 17

Evening light, Wapping. 15 7 17

July 7. Walbrooke Totentanz

Coffee, bestiaries, people. Shad Thames 3 7 17

People outside. Exmouth Market 2 7 17

Morning in Wapping. 8 7 17

Exploration and Inspiration – with Evis Sammoutis in Nicosia June 2017 Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:51:07 +0000

17 7 17 Stones of St Nicholas/Bedesten/ , for Evis Sammoutis & Garo Keheyan

A word of explanation: on deep hanging out

As I come to the end of five days of rehearsal, conversation, performance, exploration and laughter here in Nicosia, I think that it’s probably a good idea to explain what it is I am up to. Here’s a good enough place to start; at the foot of the Mulla Bastion, in the moat of the 16th century walls built in 1567 around the old city.

That’s the first of the Nicosia Etudes, by Evis Sammoutis (finding their way around the dust, the dogs barking, and the c major dance music from a nearby stage-which sparked my response at the end of the film). Evis and I have worked together for many years, and founded the Pharos Festival of Contemporary music together 9 years ago, here in Cyprus. However, we had never had the opportunity to really research and create a new work together, from the ground upwords. So in 2014 we began exploring the old city here, with a view to making something new. Here’s a link to the beginning of that process.

The crossing of the Bedesten. Formerly the church of st Nicholas,Nicosia. 30 6 17

Gradually, a theme has emerged, both from the ‘deep hanging out’ we have done around this extraordinary city, and from the ideas which we have been drawn to, separatedly, together and coincidentally. The extraordinary 13th century architecture above is a clue as to our topic, the period in Cyprus history which is, to all intents and purposes, French. In 1192, King Richard Lionheart gave the Kingdom of Cyprus to Guy de Lusignan, at the end of the chaos and slaughter of the Third Crusade (1189-92). I like to think that this face-a wise warrior, is Guy. I found it today in the Lapidary Museum (which was, finally, open) on the Turkish side of the walls here.

The face of Lusignan. 30 6 17

As you will see from the link I posted, Evis and I began our work here, trying to get our hands, our eyes, our noses, and ears as deeply as possible into the layers of Nicosia. He, of course is a Cypriot, and I am not, and this was perhaps a reason that we were both drawn to the ‘French’ centuries of the island. As he put it this evening, over late night coffee, on the street:

‘ I think that one of the attractions of the French history of the island, is that, although it’s all around us, no one has an emotive attachment to it – it does not figure in the political discussions and disagreements that are our apparent history, so we can look at it freely’

Shelter for morning coffee on 30th June. The Romans would recognise this.

Evis and I were drawn to different, but complementary musical aspects of the French medieval Mediterranean . His focus has been on the extraordinary “Manuscript of Cyprus” of the fifteenth century (Manuscript Torino J.ii.9), and mine on music/poetry from the other end of the period of French Cyprus, the work of  the 12th-13th Century Woman troubadors of what is now the South of France. Both the music and the poetry are finding their way into the pieces were are writing. Here’s one of mine, with the faces of four ‘green men’ from the one-time church of St Nicholas in the centre of the old city.

So for the past five days, we have balanced the ancient and modern research-hunting down the echo of our pasts, and looking for the place of new music in everyday life. This involves interventions, which sometimes work … and sometimes do not. Here I am, playing new music in the biggest shopping mall in Nicosia.

Playing Michael Alec Rose in the Mall of Cyprus 28 6 17

Because of a certain ill-conceived, and rather arch, project by Joshua Bell, a few years ago, there has been a misunderstanding of the success or otherwise, or playing music in public places. Having always played the violin in places where people did not expect or in some cases, even want to hear it, I can say, with confidence, that listening is a very complex thing; people you think are not listening often are, intently, and people who are giving you and themselves the impression of interest, are not. When I set up my music stand in the Mall of Cyprus, there were some interesting reactions (It’s important to remember that most people, unless they are very old or very young, have busy lives, and cannot necessarily stop for 10 minutes). At this mall, I observed, as I would expect, the fascinated faces of children, being dragged away by parents glued to their mobiles.

Ice Cream. Important to note – despite my death gaze – this man is holding a tool box. He’s taking a break between jobs. Mall of Cyprus

However, the most telling interventions to my intervention, came from older people. I was busily playing something quiet (Vilsmayr I think), and was jolted from my reveries with the violin by ‘BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO’ and hands clapping right into my face. An old lady had come right up to me and clapped loudly, 6 inches from my nose. In the second instance, I was surprised to find a woman finding her way behind my back ( I was close to the wall), whilst I was in the middle of playing Michael Hersch’s big solo piece. I presumed that I was in the way, blocking her short cut to the clothes outlet behind me. But when I finished and went back to my violin case, I found a pile of money. She presumed I was busking; and it was astringent new music, not the sounds of the 18th or 17th centuries, which was the moneymaker. Evis has the ‘dead-drop’ on film, so it will be posted; I think that it’s good for living composers to see their music turning a profit!!!

Bird feed. The remains of st George de Poulains, now the Great Hamam 28 6 17

Since the project began, Evis and I have pursued our explorations and research on both sides of the Atlantic. In the fall and the spring of 2016-17, we took the wok to Ithaca College New York State, where he teaches composition. Here’s a link to one of those visits. As you might be able to hear from the new works, it was perhaps inevitable, that in our pursuit of new sounds on the violin, it would be the lost past which started to fascinate us the most.

Typical decorated Lusignan capitals (late 1200s) rather putting the lie to the old saw that there’s no link between the gothic and the classical. Hopefully that one died some time ago

13th century arch and decoration, reused on Belig Pasa

Ice Cream. Mall of Cyprus, 28 6 17

A favourite place to work. At Garo Keheyan’s ‘Shoe Factory’, practising Villsmayr, with help from Sammoutis scores on the wall 26 6 17

Gargoyles disfigured after 1570 26 6 17


St Catherine Haydarasa 26 6 17

The flowers of Languedoc 26 6 17

Staffage 26 6 17

Now a bollard 26 6 17

Lusignan details on the street. Nikosia 26 6 18

Don’t take photos. 26 6 17

Summer. Ruin. Green LIne.

Pallimpsest on the Green Line 26 6 17

Bergen Festival 2017. Day by Day Wed, 24 May 2017 10:24:32 +0000

Jan Groth wall drawings seen past his large standing sculpture. Kunsthallen. 26 5 17

27th May

Light in the forest. Isdalen. 26 5 17

After the concert, with Magne (‘Mags’) Furuholmen 27 5 17

Duo. Jan Groth listens and leads 27 5 17


Constantly revising. Prior to concert two-a new order for my pieces, and the interstitial 17th Century Music.

With some of the audience 27 5 17

Chamber music. With Groth Gobelin and Sculpture 27 5 17

Festspillene director Anders Beyer presents concert 2.

26th May

Recording my Jan Groth pieces in Kunsthallen Bergen

Svalbard 3

Svalbard 2


His Crayon


Svalbard 1 (Version 2)

Lyseby 2

Can’t it just lean on the wall?

Svalbard 1

Lyseby 1

Granite in the hills. Trolldalen 26 5 17

25th May

Well….I didn’t expect that. What an evening. A whole evening talking with one of my heroes, Richard Goode, and I played too… conversation veered from Leigh Hunt, to Bartok, to Ferneyhough, Arthur Hartmann, Dickens….thanks to Anders Beyer for a great evening. 25 5 17

Jan Groth at the opening of this exhibition 25 5 17

May 24th

Bergen: Fløyfjellet from my window in the rain. A view I have loved for years 24-25 May

Young sailor waiting. Haakonshallon 24 5 17

Jan Groth and Malene Sheppard Skaerved 24 5 17

Malene with Groth sculptres 24 5 17

Lost in the Groth Tapestry

reflecting on Groth in situ. ‘Amor Vinciat Omnia’ 24 5 17

Beginning work with the Groth Exhibit. Kunsthallen 24 5 17

Alone with the Jan Groth Gobelin and Sculpture 24 5 17

Ivar Bjørnson playing
at Festspillunsj i Håkonshallen. 24 5 17

May 23rd

Bergen overnight. 23 5 17

About to give a private concert for Festival sponors 23 5 17

First evening 10pm

Michael Finnissy. – ‘Clarinetten- Liederkreis’ 2016(London Premiere)* Mon, 22 May 2017 20:22:55 +0000 Kreutzer Quartet
Peter Sheppard Skærved
Mihailo Trandafilovski
Clifton Harrison
Neil Heyde
Clarinet-Linda Merrick

The Kreutzer Quartet, Linda Merrick and MIchael Finnissy RNCM 28 4 17

Michael Finnissy. – ‘Clarinetten- Liederkreis’ 2016(London Premiere)*
Poco Allegretto
Largo Appassionato
Folkolorico: quasi parlando

A futhork for Jan Groth-Overview 20 5 17 Sat, 20 May 2017 17:51:22 +0000

Performing materials laid out 20 5 17

I have documented the growth of the project in dialogue with Jan Groth on other posts. See SVALBARD  , and  Overview

Here are a selection of notebook pages, which gives an idea of how this project has found its way. They are posted in no particular order and there is no hierarchy.

No 16. ‘An action which is one an continuous’ (Aristotle)

No 36. ‘ex infinitis constabunt partibus aeque’ (Lucretius)

All through this process, I have been drawn, again and again, to Lucretius’ ‘de rerum naturae’. Jan Groth’s remark to me also seems pertinent:

‘I am not of any generation/I overlap in all directions’

Lucretius said:

Therefore there will nothing to distinguish things set before the greatest and the smallest …absolute will be infinite, and as for those things which are smallest, they will be formed of equally infinite parts’ (DRN 1, Lines 615-622)

This was the second piece composed especially for Svalbard.

No 37. ‘When in a bed of straw we shrink together’ (Francis Ottway)

No 38. Gliders/Palindromes

No 39. ‘Rock Paper Scissors, Cloth leather grave stone’

No 24. ‘Proems’

No 31. ‘In Nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas’ (Ovid)

No 17. ‘…some have called the/Mighty and dreadful, for, thou are not so.’ (John Donne)

No 18: ‘If I shout loudly/no one can hear./But if I whisper/Someone always listens’ (Jan Groth)

No 19. ‘My art is a balance between something and nothing’ (Jan Groth)

No 20. ‘When the son sneezed his soul sped from this body and tried to escape through the door, but the spirit standing there caught it and held it fast, even though the poor soul cried aloud.’ (Buryat Story)

No 21. ‘hors hofum wlanc’ (Proud hoofed steed) (Rune Riddle)

No 22. ‘I have cast and used to throw reeds/and balanced sharpened twigs/ and in the forest lived from roots/ held a queen in my arms./ I will speak more if I feel like it.’ (Les Folies Triton)

No 23. ‘ When the fresh/First pulse of life shot/ brightening the snow’ (Robert Browning ‘Sordelle’)

No 25. ‘They’ve not eaten for three days’ (Christmas at the food bank. London 2016)

No 26. ‘Ride. It seems easy to the warrior comfortable in the mead hall and very brave to the one on back of the war horse’ (Rune Riddle)

No 27. ‘The Rhythm’s what’ s important, the play between the stroke’s stiffness and displacement on the paper.’ (Jan Groth)

No 29. ‘They depict nothing in particular, rather they are organic references without a fixed concept.’ (Jan Groth)

No 30. ‘That we might know thy blackness is a spark/Of light inaccesible…’ (Edward, Lord Herbert)

No 31. ‘In Nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas’ (Ovid)

No 32. ‘To bring order to my forms’ (Jan Groth)

No 33. ‘Frozen stiff/Were my feet locked by frost/Shackled by cold.’ (The seafarer)

No 34. ‘Intimately present’ (Descartes)

No 35. Division on Groth’s Studio wall

No 14. Secg/Sedge found oftest in the fen/ Lying on the water/ Wounds grim/Gagged horned bloody weals/On him, any man, that grasps it. (Rune Riddle)

No 15. ‘ I am not really sure where my need for exile, for loneliness, comes from.’ (Jan Groth)

No 15. ‘ I am not really sure where my need for exile, for loneliness, comes from.’ (Jan Groth)

No. 1 ‘Some harmonious sceptic soon in a sceptical music/Will unite these figures of men and their shapes/Will glisten again with motion, the music
Will be motion and full of shadows/’ (Wallace Stevens)

No 2. ‘Auroch is wild and savage…stalks over the moors and is so proud’ (Rune Riddle)/ ‘Seven Stars in the head of the bull which threaten rain whitn they rose with the Sun’ (Hesiod)

No 3. ‘Is necessary to have form, or can it just lean on the wall?’ (Jan Groth)

No 4. Art is made in a state of constant unease’ (Jan Groth)

No 5. ‘But the modern artist has no recognisable laurels to crown him and no inclination to rest’ (Frank O’Hara)

No 5. ‘But the modern artist has no recognisable laurels to crown him and no inclination to rest’ (Frank O’Hara)

No 6. ‘Objects used in dance help give a performance meaning and narrative and enhance any metaphors or symbolism.’ (Bonnie Rychlak)

No 7. ‘I follow my original intention as closely as I follow the working drawing’

No 8. ‘The dagger child is seen from the point of view of the child. The child has a dagger – the child wants to use the dagger: if you do not love me I am going to use my dagger. It is blackmail. I you do not love me, I am going to kill myself.’ (Louise Bourgeois)

No 9. ‘The sympathetic echoes’

No 10. Clocks change/Mist on the park. Wapping

No 11. ‘Quietness is not merely quiet. It gives me reminders’ (Jan Groth_

No 13. The haunted mere

Outtakes from recording session-20 3 17

Peter Sheppard Skaerved-Violin

No. 1 ‘Untitled 2007’

No. 3 ‘Thorn (Rune)’

No. 5 ‘…no inclination to rest…’

No. 8 ‘Gro(w)th’

No. 11 ‘Quietness is not merely quiet’

No. 13 ‘Sigil (Rune)’

No. 14 ‘…just my hands…’

No. 15 ‘Sign/Tegn’

No. 16 ‘This is where I am’

No. 17 ‘which but thy pictures be’

No. 18 ‘If I whisper, someone always listens.’

No.23 ‘The Spear’

No. 25 ‘Eor (Rune)’

No. 26 ‘Rad (Rune)’

No. 27 ‘…the play between…’

No. 30 ‘light inaccesible’

No. 31 Lysebu Triptych I

No. 32 Lysebu Triptych III

No. 33 Lysebu Triptych II

No. 34 His crayon

No. 35 Svalbard II