Shining new light on an old favourite
A Beautiful Object
Contemporary composers are rediscovering the harpsichord, connecting the Baroque world to the music of today. We have commissioned composer Héloïse Werner to write a piece for this instrument. She, very fittingly we think, called her piece “A beautiful object”. It will premiere together with a programme of contemporary music for the harpsichord and small ensemble of modern instruments on 17 March 2023, at Barnes Music Festival.
Would you like to be part of this project? Please read on and we invite you to support us in taking this explorative new creation further. Thank you! 💌
New Music for the Harpsichord: “A beautiful object”
Contemporary composers are again attracted to the harpsichord, realizing the instrument’s potential, from unconventional approaches to leaving no parts unexplored. Bach Club has commissioned a new work from Héloïse Werner. Her piece, “A beautiful object”, will premiere together with a programme of contemporary music for the harpsichord and small ensemble of modern instruments, with works by Manuel de Falla, Purcell / Britten, Stephen Dodgson, and an improvisation upon a ground bass inspired by a Prelude by Baroque composer Elisabeth de la Guerre.
Support us to get this project off the ground: concert and recording of music for the harpsichord and ensemble, including a new commission by Héloïse Werner.
Teaming up with 5 superb instrumentalists, this will be an exploration of the interplay between old and new, the harpsichord and modern instruments, existing works and a piece created especially for us.
Henry Purcell / arr. Benjamin Britten / arr. Pawel Siwczak Chacony
Héloïse Werner A beautiful object, 2021, world premiere
Stephen Dodgson Sonata for Four, 1982
Elisabeth De La Guerre Unmeasured Prelude leading to
improvisation upon the ground bass, in a modern (inspired by baroque) style
Manuel de Falla Concerto for harpsichord, 1923-26
“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
Werner’s new composition A Beautiful Object for harpsichord and an ensemble including Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello, is a result of the composer’s first impression after seeing the instrument. Héloise offers her original take on of the harpsichord’s intricacies and sonoric potential, accompanied by a combination of instruments reflecting that of De Falla’s Concerto, at Pawel’s request.
De Falla‘s chamber concerto for Harpsichord with Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello was written between 1923-26 in collaboration with, and dedicated to Wanda Landowska who premiered the work. Pawel Siwczak, who will perform 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.
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 contemporary harpsichord. In the past Pawel has recorded Stephen’s Dialogues for guitar and harpsichord, and in this concert we will take a look at 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 (sometimes literally). However, we don’t lecture from the podium. The concert is designed 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.
Be part of our journey!
We welcome and appreciate gifts of any value, large or small.
Help take this project off the ground
Half a day of work of one musician
Most of a 2-day rehearsal of one musician
Cost of a live audio recording of the concert