Heck. Chaos. Covid raging, another lockdown, the dream of a successful vaccine rollout.
I'm working on Bloom Britannia (Barefoot Opera), an opera with a libretto by Stephen Plaice, to be directed by Polly Graham, at St. Mary-in-the-Castle, Hastings. The project is masterminded by Jenny Miller, singer and pioneering opera producer. It was scheduled for October of last year, now elegantly postponed for exactly a year.
May Contain Food, a frisky piece about food that I made with Protein Dance Company a couple of years ago, is on a digital tour of the UK. Next stop as yet unknown......
I've made the music for Rise and Shine, a light installation by the artist Bruce Munro. The installation opens in Sensorio, California later this month. The music, a loopable a cappella 20-minute piece, featuring the voices of Sarah Gabriel, Sianed Jones, Rebecca Askew, Sian Croose, Melanie Pappenheim, Hazel Holder, Jeremy Avis, Manickam Yogeswaran, Ben McKee, Jonathan Williams and Jonathan Baker, will be a recording, but we will occasionally do live performances with 69 singers.
I've been working on Stroke Odysseys again. We've collaborated with Garsington Opera on I Look For The Think, a 10 minute online opera. Watch here. I've written a post Covid Choral 2 about the extraordinary experience of having contributed to it.
We've also worked with the video maker Magali Charrier on a short film Learn From Us. Watch here. Now we're making Weather The Storm, again with Garsington Opera, a 40 minute opera which will be performed live at Garsington this summer - we hope.
I've written a post Listen Hear about the idea of composers 'hearing' music, and what that might mean.
I'm working with Gabriel Prokofiev and the viol consort Fretwork on Albion, a sequence of arrangements (you could call them cover versions, you could call them remixes) of all kinds of British songs and instrumental pieces, from Dunstaple to Purcell to Elgar to Holst to Delia Darbyshire to Napalm Death, and beyond. We've asked a group of frisky composers and producers to contribute versions - so far Sarah Dacey, Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, Ewan Campbell, Blasio Kavuma, Sally Beamish, Yfat Soul Zisso, Max de Wardener, Genevieve Murphy, Talvin Singh, the Mad Professor. At the moment it's an online project (natch), but we're aiming at performances later in the year, starting with one at King's Place in November. There's an introductory video here, made by the excellent Sam Stadlen of Fretwork.
I've just written a piece C-DanCe (The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments), a dance of death and life, for four tromba marinas. A tromba marina is an instrument with one string which only plays harmonics. It sounds like a cross between a trumpet and a chain saw. Wonderful. The first performance will be at the National Centre for Early Music in York, who knows when.
Voice Project: Last year The Voice Project made a film Arc of the Sky, a bird’s-eye view of Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh, known as the Cathedral of the Marshes, and the landscape it sits in, the Blyth estuary and the coastline. The film explores themes of flight, perspective, scale, solitude and connection. I've contributed twelve short songs about skylarks, and a setting of the wonderful poem Freedom by Peter Levi. There will be a live version later this year (we hope). We are currently working together on a new project The Distance Between Us.
When we lurched out of the first lockdown, I was thinking about the fate of the amateur choir, and wrote a little post Covid Choral.
Thirty years on.......Man Jumping's albums Jumpcut and World Service are up on Spotify. Jumpcut, and two albums of remixes by Khidja, Bullion, Gengahr, Reckonwrong and William Doyle, is available on vinyl from Emotional Rescue.
The bell-ringing project Ringing The Changes (artconnexion), in collaboration with the artist David Ward, Charminster, Dorset, was scheduled for July 2020. Now scheduled for......when?
Somewhere in the far distance, beyond Covid-19:
I've started work on an opera based on Shirley Jackson's wonderful, scary, hilarious novel We Have Always Lived In The Castle, libretto by Timothy Knapman, directed by Orpha Phelan. Find out more at the website.