Monthly Archive: April 2008

Estrella Morente

Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2008

There's a big difference between good flamenco and bad. Seeing Jesus Montoya at Ainadamar the other day reminded me of the need for good flamenco (he was on fire). A rather lame hunt through itunes using the keyword 'flamenco' revealed rather a lot of the bad side of flamenco - cheesy, overproduced, cliche-ridden. Then I remembered the incredible singing on Almodovar's Volver - a quick search on that lead me to the voice behind the Cruz - Estrella Morente, who it turns out is the daughter of one of Flamenco's leading lights, Enrique Morente. Anyway, she really has gyspy passion in abundance, and listening to Mi cante y un poema make's the heart sing and weep in equal measure - as only good flamenco can.

There's some great lyricism on the album, but I'm always a fan of the flamenco 'Buleria', of which this album boasts some fist-stompingly fine examples.

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Satie arrangements

Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The full recording of my arrangements of Satie's Sports et Divertissements is now available here. The first performance here was given by the Metropolis Ensemble, conducted by Andrew Cyr and narrated by Mike Daisey.

I've added the texts that Mike Daisey read and the full recording including Mike's narration is at the bottom of this page. I must say I was particularly pleased with the tennis ball effect in no.21 (it's the conductor bouncing it).

Here are a couple of my favourites:

02 - La Balancoire - In a swing: My heart it is that swings and swings, it never gets dizzy. What tiny feet it has. Will it want to come back to my chest

09 - Le Bain de mer - Sea-bathing: The sea is wide madame. At least it's deep! Don't sit on the bottom it's very damp. Here come some nice old waves. Oh Madame! You are all wet. Oui Monsieur, they're full of water

10 - Le carnaval - Carnival: Confetti is falling all around. That one has on a melancholy mask. A tipsy Pierot tries walking straight. Enter, gracefully, some masked ladies. People push to see them, are they pretty?

15 - Le Pique-nique - Picnic: Everyone has brought potato salad. You have on a lovely white dress. Oh my! An aeroplane. Not at all, it's a storm coming up.

19 - Le Flirt - Flirtation: They say pretty things to each other. Modern things. 'How are you?', 'Don't you find me nice', 'Leave me alone', 'You have such big eyes', 'I wish I were on the moon'. He sighs. He shakes his head.

21 - Le Tennis - Tennis: Play? Yes! He has a good serve. What handsome legs he has. And a fine nose! A slashing serve. Game!

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Full Recording of A Bird in Your Ear

Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2008

I've made a full recording of the first performance of my opera/oratorio A Bird in Your Ear available here.

(...and am still waiting for proper the photos to come through)

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A chat with Mike Daisey

Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2008

During my trip to New York last month I popped into the city to have a chat with Mike Daisey who is going to be the narrator for my arrangement of Satie's Sports et Divertissements - this was organised by the Metropolis Ensemble to promote the forthcoming concert - see the video clip above for Part 1 of our chat.

If you're in NYC this Thursday do please head along to the Metropolis Ensemble Spring Concert to hear the concert. I can't wait to hear what the ebulient Mike brings to the piece. There's lots of other great music on the programme including a premiere by Ryan Carter, and pieces by Salonen and Ravel. Essa-Pekka himself is reportedly attending.


Three more short videos of the chat are now available here, including, in part 4, details of The Great Tennis Ball Secret. Tickets to the concert are reportedly selling fast, so if you fancy coming book now

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