Showing posts with label Dame Harriet Walter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dame Harriet Walter. Show all posts

Monday, May 05, 2014

Dame Harriet Walter stars in my play THIS FRIDAY


Please come to the Brighton Fringe and the MOOT - Music of Our Time series on FRIDAY 9 MAY when the utterly incredible Dame Harriet Walter (above) stars in my play A Walk through the End of Time together with Guy Paul, the wonderful American actor who happens to be her husband.

The play, in one act, explores the way Olivier Messiaen created his Quartet for the End of Time in a prisoner-of-war camp in 1940, through the prism of a contemporary story about two people whose lives have been profoundly touched by the work. (More about it here.) In the second half the Ether Quartet plays the complete quartet. St Nicholas's Church is close to Brighton station. Book here!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Meet Music Of Our Time - Sounds of War, Instruments of Peace

OK, there's self-interest here - next week, on Friday 9 May, they are doing my Messiaen play. I'm more than thrilled that the founder of MOOT, Brighton-based musician Norman Jacobs [pictured below with literary companion], wanted to include the play and the Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time in his varied, exciting and intriguing festival on the Brighton Fringe. Do please come to St Nicholas's Church, Brighton, on 9 May to see A Walk Through the End of Time performed by Dame Harriet Walter and Guy Paul and the Messiaen played by the Ether Quartet. Book for all MOOT events here.


JD: Norman, please tell us about MOOT. How did you start the series and what are your aims with the programming in general?

NJ: The idea came to me one New Year’s Eve after thinking that although so many good musicians live in Brighton there was no one facilitating innovative contemporary music events on a regular basis.

Several musician friends I spoke to said that they had had enough of ‘background’ gigs and only wanted to play foreground music. After a few months of just playing records (starting with Berio’s ‘Sinfonia’!) and having a reasonable sized number of attendees our very first concert took place: Travels with my Theremin with Sarah Angliss We managed to get and audience AND pay the musicians. MOOT – music of our time had come of age.


JD: For this year’s series, themed around war, you've got a wonderful variety of events - how did you arrive at this? Point us towards a few highlights?
 
NJ: Music’s role during times of war is multifarious: a tool to lift morale at home and in the field, as a form of protest, witness, remembrance or documentary.

I hope that the series will provide audience with a view of music at the start of the First World War, specifically on the music and lives of soldier-composers, pacifists and women – three very important parts of British society of that time which continue to have resonance in our lives and thinking today.

For me the highlights are A Walk Through the End of Time (Messiaen and a play with the brilliant Harriet Walter and Guy Paul!) [thank you!! JD] , the Heath Quartet and Nigel Cliffe in A Letter from Private Joe with music by Roxanna Panufnik, and the Post War Orchestra (weapons transformed into musical instruments). I am also looking forward to hearing music across ten concerts by our featured composer Frank Bridge, the Brighton-born composer and pacifist.


JD: Is 
Brighton a good spot for a series like this? How does it work in terms of support, funding, interfacing with the festival, etc?
 
NJ: I seem to spend a third of my year completing funding forms. Thankfully, the effort was not wasted as we have been successful in receiving funding from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Sussex Community Foundation, Brighton & Hove City Council and half a dozen other organisations. If only it were easier so I could spend more time on the creative side of concert planning, which is what I enjoy most in what I do.

JD: What are your plans and hopes for MOOT in the future? 
 
NJ: In September, the legendary American pianist Ursula Oppens is visiting the UK and she has agreed to play inBrighton a programme of Ravel and American modern masterpieces. Definitely one not to miss!

Next year marks Pierre Boulez’s 90th birthday. As one of our patrons we will definitely include his music. I also want to include more music by women composers in next year’s series. Watch this space.
 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Off to Manchester

Please come to the Messiaen project at Chetham's Summer School for Pianists if you're in Manchester this evening! My talk is at 5pm, my play A Walk through the End of Time is at 7pm starring Dame Harriet Walter and Guy Paul, and the complete Quartet for the End of Time will be performed by pianist Kathryn Page and friends at 8.30pm. Do say hello if you're there. Box office: 07814 989913.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dame Harriet Walter and Guy Paul to star in A WALK THROUGH THE END OF TIME, Friday


[UPDATE: PLEASE NOTE NEW BOX OFFICE NUMBER BELOW....]
A quick alert for our friends in the north... Chetham's Piano Summer School, founded and directed by Chet's tireless head of piano, Murray McLachlan, is currently in full swing. On Friday I'm heading up there with the fabulous actors Dame Harriet Walter and Guy Paul for a performance of my Messiaen play, A Walk through the End of Time. (Pictured: Harriet in A Walk at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in last year's International Wimbledon Music Festival.)

It's a big evening. We start at 5pm with me giving a talk about how and why I wrote it. The play begins at 7pm - it is about an hour long. Finally, at 8.30pm pianist Kathryn Page leads an expert team of soloists in a complete performance of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time.

Contact Information
Tickets: £12 and £6 concessions. Free to summer school participants
Box Office Tel No: 
07814 989913  
Email info@pianosummerschool.com

This is going to be a hectic autumn for JD, with a number of concerts of Hungarian Dances, and a brand-new Alicia's Gift words&music programme with the terrific Viv McLean (piano). Next up: we'll be at Houben's Bookshop, 2 Church Court, Richmond-upon-Thames, to talk about it all on 3 September at 6.30pm. Please join us for a chat, drinks & crunchies. Admission is free, but we'd love it if you'd book a place: to do so, please call Yvonne on 07889 399862. More concert & play details in the sidebar...

Friday, November 30, 2012

OK, reviews...

A number of friends have been grumbling that they haven't seen the reviews of my play A WALK THROUGH THE END OF TIME, and why hadn't I put them up on JDCMB, etc, so here they are.

MARK RONAN: http://markronan.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/a-walk-through-the-end-of-time-orange-tree-theatre-richmond-november-2012/
..." the play stands on its own and should be performed more often. At one hour long it is only slightly shorter than another two-hander currently winning four star reviews in the West End, but it is far deeper and far more compelling. Let us hope this ‘rehearsed reading’ is the prelude to something further."...

MORE THAN THE MUSIC - MELANIE SPANSWICK:  http://www.morethanthemusic.co.uk/reviews/gig-reviews/18112012-a-walk-through-the-end-of-time-and-the-womans-orchestra-in-auschwitz-orange-tree-theatre-wimbledon-festival/
..."The result was dramatic and bold; the audience were privy to the couple’s spiritual journey, many of the questions raised applying to mankind as a whole. It was poignant and full of pathos."...

THERE OUGHT TO BE CLOWNS: http://oughttobeclowns.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/review-walk-through-end-of-time-orange.html

..."the play itself shows much promise, weaving together elements of scientific and musical theory with history and fiction into a sinuously interesting piece of work."... 

Monday, November 19, 2012

A moment in the sun

A few pics from yesterday at the Orange Tree Theatre/International Wimbledon Music Festival's staging of A Walk through the End of Time. Rehearsing with Harriet Walter, Henry Goodman and director Anthony Wilkinson - what a privilege it was to have such an incredible team to take up this piece. Then a quick curtain call. Huge thanks to everyone who came along and cheered us on! Really hope you enjoyed it.




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Countdown to my play...

Here's the latest news regarding A WALK THROUGH THE END OF TIME at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, this weekend. http://www.orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/walk-through-the-end-time

As you know, the scheduled performance at 2.30pm sold out about six weeks in advance. Due to popular demand, the theatre and the International Wimbledon Music Festival decided to put on a second one, beginning at 5.15pm. This, too, is now sold out.

If you want to go and you still haven't booked, please call the box office and ask to be put on a waiting list for returns. Phone number: 020 8940 3633.

I've been having fun, meanwhile, working out how to incorporate some actual music. Originally the play was designed as a curtain-raiser for a complete performance of the Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time, but for practical reasons the Messiaen itself this time will be part of the festival concert by the Nash Ensemble the following evening, 19 November. So we need a little sonic illustration. Hopefully what I've cooked up may find favour with Anthony Wilkinson, Henry Goodman and Harriet Walter; we'll see the outcome soon.

There's not much point my being nervous, because there's nothing more I can do - it is over to our expert team to make it all real. My calming-down mantra normally goes: "I don't have to play the piano... I don't have to play the piano... I don't have to play the piano..." Hope it works.






Saturday, November 03, 2012

How I put the story of music in a Nazi POW camp on stage

I have a piece in the Independent about how and why I wrote A Walk through the End of Time. It was out on Wednesday, but I spent much of the day travelling home from Wexford and didn't get a chance to blog it. Here it is. The picture, of course, is of Dame Harriet Walter, who is our star actress on 18 November at the Orange Tree, with Henry Goodman as her partner. Watch this space for further news about the performance.