Sunday, December 04, 2011

Kerry Becomes A Regular Feature On Radio 3, Goes A Bit 'The Shining' In Aldeburgh And Glams Up For The British Composer Awards

Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 2
Listening: Kate Bush's very silly but quite enjoyable '50 words for snow'
Hair Day: disappointing. Needs work from my man in Herne Hill! (Apparently I go to the same hairdresser as Florence Welch, you know)
What I can see from my window no. 19: Chelmsford. By night (I am on a train).

Broadcasting House became as regular a workplace as Handel House or Wigmore Hall for me in November, with two more appearances following my big choral premiere on The Choir. First I went in to record a brand new You Are Wolf song, specially-commissioned by wordsy show The Verb, on the word 'darkling'. I mashed up bits of Keats, Hardy, Milton and Shakespeare in my customary looping stylee for a spooky number. In 10/4! Nice to have a chat, down the phone as I couldn't make the proper recording date, with the lovely poet/presenter Ian McMillan, who, in his voice as molten and rich as the middle of my Mum's homemade Yorkshire pudding, later described me as 'unfeasibly wonderful' and apparently enjoys this blog and my football one

I later went in to record a piece about last year's British Composer Awards for Hear and Now's preview of this year's awards. Juice went along this year as nominators of Dai Fujikura's piece for us, 'away we play', a pithy bit of virtuosic vocal sparkliness, which had been shortlisted in the Vocal Category. Never one to miss an opportunity to glam up to the max, we sashayed around in all our sequin-jumpsuited/hot-pink-skirted/cleavage-flashing finest, gleefully composer-spotting whilst gulping champagne and scoffing our mini paper cones of scampi and chips. Alas, Dai didn't win in his category, but we reckon we were pretty close in the running and it's really good to get our name out there as flag-bearers of experimental stuff. We at least had one person to whoop for, Firefly's John Barber, winning in the Community and Education category. Here are the other winners. Nice to see the likes of Anna Meredith, Emily Hall, Mira Calix, Michael Zev Gordon and other fab new musickers; Anna managed to get a wink off  stadium-drawing comedian/musician Tim Minchin, nominated for 'Mathilda' and something of an uber-star amidst our lickle contemporary world. Result! The Awards sadly piffle out at an exceptionally early hour, so Sarah and I allowed ourselves to be happily dragged off to an old man pub with the tipsy and excitable Oxford University Press crew, brilliant soprano Lore Lixenberg and the arch, super-cool Gabriel Jackson, the only choral composer to look like an East End hipster/greyhound-racer.

The Awards were a glitzy, shoulder-rubbing relief in the middle of a rather intense week at Aldeburgh, where I've been one of five composers writing for pianist pair duoDorT on their Quantalum project. Obviously, staying by the sea and working amongst idyllic marshland had some very special moments, but the intensity and isolation, what with mostly working on our own for days on end, did leave me with something of a thousand-yard stare. I'm relatively happy with my piece, a three-movement exploration of pianos, looping and spoken word, with my ubiquitous birdy theme. Favourite moments were a) coming out onto a night beach to look up at a sky like a split fig, near-dripping with stars, some shooting, one plunging down into the sea and b) my afternoon walk at Snape, with the moon already out, spotting birds in the wetlands, surrounded by peeping, burbling calls like dial-up modems, and getting slightly lost in the Warrens as the dusk fell. Here are some pictures!

No comments: