Archive of Welcome Page weekending 18-11-2012

Posted on November 18th, 2012 by

And more from the studio. We are just about to release a collection of Michael Rose’s music on Toccata Classics. Here is the wonderful Carly Lake, playing his ‘All’Arme’

Michael Alec Rose-All’arme Carly Lake – Horn (Engineer-Jonathan Haskell, Producer-Peter Sheppard Skaerved

Slow Dawn in Wapping 15 11 2012

Michael Finnissy-a conversation with Grieg

Edvard And Nina Grieg At The Piano,Peder Severin Krøyer 1892

Michael Finnissy’s work with Grieg’s unfinished Piano Quintet is nothing short of astounding. This page serves as a sort of ‘reverse diary’ of the development of this astonishing work-one great composer in conversation with another!

November 13th 2012-a first edit

A fantastic day working with engineer Jonathan Haskell on the first of the two movements-Michael’s continuation of Grieg’s unresolved exposition into a fabulous 30 minutes of colour and drama.

Edvard And Nina Grieg At The Piano,Peder Severin Krøyer 1892

Grieg/Finnissy-Piano Quintet Movement. Kreutzer Quartet (Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Morgan Goff, Neil Heyde), Roderick Chadwick-Piano, (musical supervision-Michael Finnissy)

Dover Arts Development ‘War and Peace’ Workshops 12th November 2012

A wonderful day in Dover, on the DAD War and Peace Project. Workshops at Dover College and St Mary’s School. Wonderful to do this project with Malene Sheppard Skaerved. Thanks to Clare Smith and Joanna Jones for their inspired work on this. Here, one of the mysterious paths that bisect this amazing town. Colour, timbre and ideas-everything that we were exploring in the sessions, with the quite wonderful young people at both schools


Workshop in Dover-the path up to Laureston Place 12th November 2012

Working on Jeremy Dale Roberts-‘The Dancer on the Shore’

Three astonishing days, working on Jeremy Dale Roberts’ epic string quintet, with Neil Heyde, Morgan Goff, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Bridget McRae-and here, in a post workshop picture, with composer Richard Causton and Paulette, the Jeremy Dale Roberts’s wife.

Two great cellists, Bridget MacRae and Neil Heyde-great friends and colleagues of mine, playing together for the first time. 7th November 2012, London. Working on Jeremy Dale Roberts-Quintet ‘The Dancer on the Shore’

New from the studio. Outtakes from this week’s Bach session-St John the Baptist, Aldbury November 6th

Bach-B minor Partita

Allemande & DoubleSarabande & DoubleBourrée & DoublePeter Sheppard Skaerved-Violin Engineer Jonathan Haskell

 11pm 6th November 2012-my film for the library of Congress has just gone live PAGANINI PROJECT

6th November-Just finished recording Bach B minor Partita. Jonathan, my wise and thoughtful engineer, caught me unawares, listening back-the only moments of relative inactivity in a wonderful day

This just in!

Rehearsing Jeremy Thurlow’s ‘Ouija’ at the Holwell Music Room, Oxford, the world’s oldest purpose-built concert room

Preparation, for tomorrow’sconcert at Holywell Music Room. Ansgar Beste’s ‘Dialogues Fragiles’. Trying the prepared violin with gut strings and 17th Century type bow

This Week!

Soundbox. Royal Academy of Music Tuesday 30th October. Piano Gallery Royal Academy of Music

Ole Bull update! After the inspiration of the last week in Norway, an overview of the my work on the great Ole Bull. For more, go to the link

Approaching Lysøen, Ole Bull’s island near Bergen

Friday November 2nd 730pm Holywell Music Room Oxford 

A concert built around Jeremy Thurlow’s wonderful ‘Ouija’, his dialogue with Paganini, Bach, and Jelly d’Aranyi. The programme will include:

Paganini-Caprices,Jeremy Thurlow-Ouija,David Gorton-Caprices,Paul West Osterfield-Caprices,Judith Bingham-The Lost Works of Paganini 2009,Nigel Clarke-Loulan & Pernambuco,Jörg Widmann-Etudes,David Matthews-Paganini Fantasia


Hans Werner Henze (1926-2012). 1989, Germany-mid way through a rehearsal of his ‘I sentimenti C P E Bach’-flowers from the Ensemble

A new project on the horizon. At the end of November, I will be playing the Bach Sonatas & Partitas in the astonishing ‘Shoe Factory’ in Nikosia, Cyprus. This place is so important to me-the vision of the humanitarian Garo Keheyan, a place for painting, music, and discussion.

Giacinto Scelsi ‘Arc en Ciel’ at the Shoe Factory, Nikosia. PSS and Mihailo Trandafilovski

J S Bach- Siciliana (G minor Partita) Peter Sheppard Skaerved (Recording outtake-2012-Engineer-Jonathan Haskell-Astounding Sounds)

Thinking about Bach:  Like any violinist, Bach is the private centre of what I do. Despite playing the Sonatas & Partitas from a young age, it was not until my early thirties that I performed the cycle in public. Even today, even though I am someone who just loves to talk about music, I find that on the subject of Bach, I am silent. Perhaps this is because these works are so much my every day, like breathing, or sleeping, meaning that anything I might say on the subject will just seem trite. So I won’t say much-just some vignettes.

Beginnings. The reclusive pedagogue Beatrix Marr was the first to make it clear to me the high expectations that Bach set any musician. When I was 9 or 10, I would take the train to her 12th Century cottage, lost in a South Devon valley, to practise, to talk, to draw, to read, to walk. Lessons took place under the Hugo von Beckerath drawing of Brahms playing his Op 76, lost in rapture and concentration. ‘Trix’ would take one movement, say of the G minor Partita, and have me study and play it in 8 different ways, with different bowing combinations or dynamic gradients. Then she would send me out to hunt for Neolithic stone tools in her vegetable garden, or to walk to the medieval stone bridge which crossed the river near her land. It was clear, and remains clear, what she was showing. We do not interpret Bach, we chisel away at our understanding of him in the optimistic expectation that we might live him well, that we might stumble across something wonderful in repeated and modest traversal of these pieces.

Another memory: Ralph Holmes was quite possibly the greatest British violinist ever to have played. He died tragically young, in his mid-forties. His practice of music was filled with the art and objects that he loved-a lesson in his Kent studio involved tripping over an Elisabeth Frink on the floor, studying the Lord Leighton sketches on his walls, handing the 18th Century carpenters tools he collected. But, he taught me, there is a precise correlation between this broad view, and the rapturous precision that Bach demands. To this day, I remember a terrifying, but kind, lesson on the E major Loure. I was fifteen. He demanded that I listen to the universe that could reveal itself in the absolute control of the intonation and surface, the Stoff of every note. The piece is maybe 2 minutes long. The lesson took nearly two hours, and afterwards I sat on the steps of the Royal Academy in my school uniform, shaking with frustration. But the lesson has stayed with me, Bach’s ‘garland across heaven’ that his demands revealed remains as spectacular as ever, and I smile at the memory of this difficult violin lesson, every time I play the movement.

The reason that all of us play the Bach Sonatas & Partitas in public is the great Joseph Joachim. The very first time that this 12-year old boy appeared in London in 1844, playing under the baton of his mentor, Felix Mendelssohn, he performed the Bach solo works on stage. This was new, although the works had been played in salon environments for many years. 60 years later, he was still performing, having inspired great works from his friends and colleagues, Liszt, Clara and Robert Schumann, Niels Gade and of course Johannes Brahms. He was a regular on the London stage-he loved to holiday at Broadstairs and to visit Charles Dickens at Gad’s Hill. Bach remained the heart of his work, and in 1904, when he made his only recording-just four tracks, two of these were Bach. The Stradivari you are hearing tonight, was one of his, and if you ask me, I will show you where his beard scratched the varnish by the tailpiece.

One of the ways that I return to Bach, again and again, is with the help of the living composers with whom it is my privilege and joy to work. Poul Ruders and David Matthews have shone light on the fugues for me. George Rochberg showed me new aspects of the Chaconne. Evis Sammoutis has forced me to listen with more care to the surface and colour of monadic lines. I have brought four tiny miniatures by two very different composers, Lars Bagger and Sadie Harrison. Lars Bagger has taught me to hear the meaning in the smallest gesture-his Chorale is his distilled response to a ‘prayer-ring’ in the British Museum. Sadie Harrison is writing series of pieces based on my paintings-these are two of these exquisite miniatures. “ Peter Sheppard Skærved, Autumn 2012