Nicola Lefanu – Prelude after Grinling Gibbons – first listen

Posted on November 24th, 2018 by

Nicola LeFanu     Prelude after Grinling Gibbons (2018)

                                                                        (London Premiere)

St Stephen Walbrook 23rd November 2018

Peter Sheppard Skærved – Violin

Working with composer Nicola LeFanu 28 6 18

The starting point Nicola LeFanu’s ‘Prelude after Grinling Gibbons’ is the ‘King David’ wood carving made by the young by Gibbons man in York, before he went to London and became Master Carver to King Charles II. Gibbons based his panel on a painting by Peter Candid, Performance of a motet by Orlando di Lassus. It depicts dancing cherubs, angels playing instruments (as in Psalm 150) David singing and playing the harp, and St Cecilia playing a small organ, giving wise rise to the three strands in the music: dancing cherubs, David‘s chant and the music of Lassus’s Psalm 150.  David’s music is in four verses, descending in register and heralded and surrounded by the cherubs. The Lassus, glimpsed at first, gradually comes to the fore, until the piece concludes with St Cecilia, and we hear  – in terms of the violin – the whole of the little motet which Lassus composed especially for Candid’s picture, and which is transcribed from Sadeler‘s print of it.

An update – 10 /11/20 Last week, Malene Sheppard Skaerved and I stumbled on 17th C stained glass, in the London Museum of the same – the museum has not realised the source of the image, as the panels (which were in Parish Clerke’s Hall) are separated – but but them together, and there you, are. Perhaps Gibbons knew/inspired this corpus vitrearum – he worked in the City from 1670.