New Music for the Harpsichord – Héloïse Werner, Stephen Dodgson, Manuel de Falla...

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Bach Club Soloists

 

A beautiful object – new music for the harpsichord

Work in progress
Project: a concert and recording of new music for the harpsichord and an ensemble, including a new commission.

Henry Purcell / arr. Benjamin Britten / arr. Pawel Siwczak Chacony
Héloïse Werner A beautiful object, 2021
Stephen Dodgson Sonata for Four, 1982
Unmeasured Prelude leading to
improvisation upon the ground bass, in a modern style inspired by baroque
Manuel de Falla Concerto for harpsichord, 1923-26

Contemporary composers are again attracted to the harpsichord, exploring the instrument’s potential, unconventional approaches and leaving no parts unexplored. Bach Club has recently commissioned a new work from Héloïse Werner. Her piece “A beautiful object” will premiere it in this concert, in a programme of contemporary music for the harpsichord and small ensemble of modern instruments.

De Falla’s chamber concerto for Harpsichord and Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello was written over the years 1923-26 in collaboration with, and dedicated to Wanda Landowska who premiered the work. Pawel Siwczak who will play the harpsichord solo part, has a special affiliation with Wanda Landowska – through his Polish heritage and his educational path that can be traced directly to her and her closest collaborators. Teaming up with members of Britten Sinfonia, this will be an exploration of the interplay between old and new, harpsichord and modern instruments, an existing work and a piece created especially for us.

Stephen Dodgson was a versatile and immensely prolific composer who, as well as writing large scale works, had a special affiliation with guitar, recorder, and harpsichord. Pawel recorded Stephen’s Dialogues for guitar and harpsichord, and in this concert we will be exploring his chamber Sonata for Four.

The programme will weave in stories around the music and composers, told from the stage, to paint the context and dive a bit deeper into the instrument (in case of some pieces, literally). However, this will not be a lecture concert but part of a concert design with approachability and a sense of lightheartedness at its core, aimed at lowering the barriers between audience and performers, and underlining the story-telling power of music.

Héloïse Werner at the harpsichord

Héloïse Werner at the harpsichord while composing "A beautiful object", taking notes at Pawel Siwczak's instrument in Bach Club office in London.

 

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New Music for the Harpsichord

Celebrating harpsichord as a beautiful and mysterious object, blending old and new sound worlds, and presenting this instrument in a new light.

The world premiere of a new commission, only just written especially for us by Héloïse Werner, alongside Manuel De Falla's Concerto for harpsichord, music by Stephen Dodgson, framed by baroque improvisation. This project features harpsichord with five modern instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, violin & cello.

 

Be part of our journey

How will your gift help us?

Apart from the main goals above, you will support us in:

  • cost of the new commission from a young composer
  • engaging 6 professional musicians
  • organizing rehearsals and presenting a live concert in London
  • costs related to recording the performance
  • venue, promotion, technical, and other essential costs

Read more about this project here.

Manuel de Falla recording his harpsichord concerto
Manuel de Falla recording his harpsichord concerto

Key Artists

Heloise Werner portrait

Héloïse Werner

composer

Recipient of the Michael Cuddigan Trust Award 2018, Linda Hirst Contemporary Vocal Prize 2017 and a Leeds Lieder Young Artist 2018, French-born and London-based soprano and composer Héloïse Werner was one of the four shortlisted nominees in the Young Artist category of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2017. She was one of the BBC Radio 3’s 31 under 31 Young Stars 2020.

“Héloïse Werner should be a name on the lips of any musical adventurer. (…) This young soprano-composer – and cellist too – is a one-off, who can transform a tiny fragment of song into a mesmerising drama. It’s as if her whole being is double-jointed. Her beautiful voice can flip itself from long-lined lyricism into a battery of percussive instruments: trilling her tongue at jet-propeller speed, turning a simple vowel sound into a complex expression of love or anguish, with a lexicon of facial expressions to match.” Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

Pawel Siwczak portrait

Pawel Siwczak

harpsichord & fortepiano; director

Pawel Siwczak is a Polish & British musician based in London. He has a passion for historical keyboards, especially harpsichord and fortepiano, which he studied extensively and continues to explore in his career. He is the winner of 8th Broadwood Harpsichord Competition and the Musica Britannica prize.
Pawel’s performances are diverse, ranging from solo recitals to conducting from the keyboard, and collaborations with orchestras and ensembles.
He thrives working with other art disciplines: his project with a PC Music artist Danny Harle was featured by BBC Radio among “Five of the BBC’s weirdest live sessions ever”, a concise summary of Pawel’s experimental spirit combined with traditional classical training.
He is a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music and a director of Bach Club Soloists.
Pawel puts emphasis on the storytelling power of the language of music; the sheer ability to communicate expressively with the audience is key to him.
Jackie Shave portrait

Jacqueline Shave

violin

Jacqueline Shave received her formal training at the Royal Academy of Music, but drew her particular performance inspiration and love of chamber music from her time at the Britten-Pears School in Snape. On leaving the Academy she became Leader of English Touring Opera, but soon made the decision to dedicate herself to chamber music, leading the Schubert Ensemble and then co-founding and leading the Brindisi Quartet for fifteen years, with whom she recorded and gave concerts worldwide.

She is in demand as a guest leader with many of the UKs leading orchestras and ensembles including the Nash Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Composers Ensemble, BBC Scottish and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras .She was appointed leader of Britten Sinfonia in 2005. In 2013 she additionally became leader of the Red Note Ensemble, a contemporary music group in Glasgow and is the violinist in the Britten Oboe Quartet with Nicholas Daniel.

In 2011 she took a year away to explore other musical pathways, which resulted in Postcards from Home, a world music/jazz CD in collaboration with Kuljit Bhamra (tabla) and John Parricelli (guitar). She also presented a complete Beethoven string quartet cycle on the Hebridean island of Harris, and gave a free improvisation concert in a cave on Hestur, in the North Atlantic Faroe Islands. Jacqueline is writing more and more and recently had a piece premiered in London by Britten Sinfonia and tenor Nicholas Mulroy entitled Three Landscapes for oboe quartet and voice set to poems of Laurie Lee, Clifford Dyment and WB Yeats.

Jacqueline plays on a Nicolo Amati violin, from 1672.

Caroline Dearnley portrait

Caroline Dearnley

cello

Caroline Dearnley studied at the Royal College of Music with Joan Dickson and subsequently with William Pleeth, winning every cello prize. A full and varied career quickly followed. While Caroline’s career encompasses many aspects of music-making, she is best known as a chamber musician and soloist, performing and recording chamber music with many leading ensembles.

She has been principal cello with Britten Sinfonia since 1993 and has seen it grow into the vibrant and hugely successful ensemble it is today. She gave the British premiere of Poul Ruders’ Cello Concerto with the orchestra in 2001 and is a member of the Britten Sinfonia Soloists with groundbreaking residencies in Norwich, Cambridge and at the Wigmore Hall. She has also played guest principal cello with many orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Sinfonietta, English Chamber Orchestra, ENO, RLPO and BBCNOW.

She was a founder member of the Joachim Trio, which recorded extensively for Naxos, ASV and Hyperion and was well known to BBC Radio listeners. Their first two CDs of French music both won the “Editor’s Choice” accolade from Gramophone magazine and CDs of the complete Dvorak, Saint-Saëns trios followed.

As a chamber musician she has taken part in all the country’s major festivals, including the International “Artists in Residence” series at the Bath Festival, the festivals at Aldeburgh and Edinburgh, and Robert Cohen’s summer festivals at Charleston Manor. She is cellist in the Britten Oboe Quartet with Nick Daniel and other principal players in Britten Sinfonia with recitals throughout Europe.

In the studio she has played on the soundtrack for many iconic films including Harry Potter, James Bond and The Hunger Games series.

Caroline plays a Milanese cello, dated 1740.

Thomas Hancox portrait

Thomas Hancox

flute

Thomas Hancox is both Principal Flute of Northern Ballet and Co-Principal flute of Britten Sinfonia. He also works regularly as guest principal flute for other orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, English National Opera, and the English Chamber Orchestra, amongst others. Solo and chamber work has led to collaborations with artists and ensembles including the Allegri and Sacconi string quartets, Haffner Ensemble, Trevor Pinnock, and Jeremy Denk, with recitals in the Cheltenham, Spitalfields, St Davids, Canterbury, and Oxford Chamber Music festivals.

Dedicated to bringing music to all, Thomas is Chief Executive of CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, a charity that introduces and makes available chamber music to young people. With his harpist duo partner, Rachel Wick, he has also been an artist for Live Music Now, a charity that brings the joy and power of live music to those who otherwise would not be able to access it.

Having previously taught at King’s College London and the Dragon School, Oxford – and for the best part of a decade as a tutor on the ever-popular Flute Kitchen summer course in Harrogate – he now gives classes at music departments and colleges throughout the UK.

Thomas read music at St Peter’s College, Oxford, from where he graduated with a first, before pursuing further studies in Paris with Patrick Gallois, and subsequently at the Royal Academy of Music with Paul Edmund-Davies and Samuel Coles, finishing with a distinction and the honorary DipRAM. He was generously supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Leverhulme Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and the Craxton Memorial Trust.

Peter Facer portrait

Peter Facer

oboe

Peter Facer grew up in Hertfordshire, and then attended Girton College Cambridge, where he read music, graduating with a double first class degree. He then studied as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music in London where he graduated with distinction and earned the DipRAM for an outstanding final exam. He continued his studies at various music conservatories in Germany and subsequently won the position of Principal Oboe of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

In 2017, he returned to Great Britain and is now incredibly busy working as a freelance oboist. He has played guest principal oboe with many orchestras including the Philharmonia, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra and English National Opera.

Peter has recently performed the Marcello Oboe Concerto with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, and whilst with the West Australian Symphony gave the premiere performance of Andrew Schultz’s quadruple concerto Maali. Peter also regularly performs solo and chamber concerts around the country.

In 2019, Peter was appointed to the position of Co-Principal oboe of Britten Sinfonia, and was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Oliver Pashley portrait

Oliver Pashley

clarinet

Oliver Pashley is a young London-based clarinettist and founding member of contemporary quartet The Hermes Experiment. He is Sub-Principal Clarinet with Britten Sinfonia, and has played guest principal with groups including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and London Mozart Players, and English National Ballet.

As part of The Hermes Experiment Oliver has toured the UK and abroad. The ensemble, consisting of soprano, clarinet, double bass and harp, has commissioned over 50 new works and arrangements for the group, and frequently ventures into live improvisation, graphic score, and performance art. Recent highlights include performances at Wigmore Hall, LSO St Luke’s, Southbank Centre, Kings Place and Spitalfields Festival.

Oliver studied at Cambridge University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and gratefully acknowledges the support he received from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and Help Musicians UK.

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