About the piece
The ringing of bells has meant many things to people for centuries: the call to worship, a marking of time, an alarm for danger, the joy of marriage, the sorrow of death. Jill Jarman’s new piece for internationally renowned percussionist Evelyn Glennie with viols and voices mixes the sounds of old and new, life and death, celebration and mourning, and examines the call of bells pealing across centuries of human experience.
Composer Jill Jarman has written music for percussionist Evelyn Glennie before. She has also written for Chelys Consort of Viols, and for voices. Musicians are obsessed by sound, and the power it has to charm, entertain, move, enliven, annoy(!) soothe and narrate. Instrumentalists and singers are obsessed by how to make these sounds, and composers by how to write for them in the most powerful and communicative combinations. It has long been a desire of Jill's to bring together this particular collection of players and sounds into a piece that explores new ideas for collaborative expression. Whether your music is old or new, whether your instruments are of the most modern invention or of the oldest design, music, song, rhythm, and melody have been a part of human expression since the world began. Making music is, and always has been, part of what it is to be alive!
How Will It Work?
Jill's new piece will be written in sections, and will frame a concert programme that explores the connections between old and new music, with the bell as the starting point of the journey. The day begins, a clock strikes, sacred chant drifts across the landscape as worshippers make their bleary-eyed way to church. Light dawns, and we compare the shifting subtle harmonies of Jarman's piece Awakening, with the rippling arpeggiated flow of Abel's prelude for solo gamba. Later, the tolling of a funeral bell calls to mind the Nunc Dimittis, both historical settings and Jarman's own setting called Revelation, written for voices and viols in 2013 and re-worked for this programme to include Evelyn. If you want the rest of the story, you'll have to help us write it!
How Can You Get Involved?
It's a big project, with a sizeable budget, but we're already well on the way with it. The joyful process of filling in grant applications for as many arts organisations as we can find is officially underway! There is a big Arts Council application in progress, and it is much more likely to be successful if we can show the support of our Crowdfunders as part of the application. So if you can help us reach our target here successfully, then we are much more likely to be successful with grant applications. It's hugely exciting to play a part in the creation of new music. Think back over all the hundreds of years of fabulous music, written for specific players and musicians at particular courts, churches, cities, opera houses, or charities. Fantastic music is still being written today, and this is your chance to make some of it happen - do join us!
As usual with Crowdfunding we are offering rewards to our supporters, but this time with a slightly unusual twist. So that you get to be properly involved in the creation of the piece rather than just giving to a general fund, we thought it would be fun for you to sponsor the piece note by note - so you can pledge your support to two bars of music, or the first five notes that Evelyn plays, or the final chord of the concert! Take a careful look at the rewards as there are different ones for each level of donation.
If we reach our basic target then we will be able to get the piece written and rehearsed, and Alternative Classical will look after the performance schedule. If we can exceed the target then it opens up all sorts of possibilities - composition workshops in schools and local communities, subsidised performances in venues that would not usually expect to be able to host this kind of event for their community, and also the possibility of recording the programme as well as performing it live.
THANK YOU for your support!
photo: Caroline Purday
Dame Evelyn Glennie is the first person in history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest orchestras, conductors and artists. She fondly recalls having played the first percussion concerto in the history of The Proms at the Albert Hall in 1992, which paved the way for orchestras around the world to feature percussion concerti. She had the honour of a leading role in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Evelyn regularly provides masterclasses and consultations designed to guide the next generation. She is also a leading commissioner of over 200 new pieces for solo percussion for many of the world’s most eminent composers. The film Touch the Sound and her enlightening TED speech remain key testimonies to her approach to sound-creation. Evelyn was awarded an OBE in 1993 and now has over 100 international awards to date, including the Polar Music Prize and the Companion of Honour. Evelyn continues to inspire and motivate people from all walks of life. Her masterclasses and consultations are designed to guide the next generation. Evelyn is currently embarking on the formation of The Evelyn Glennie Collection. The vision is to open a centre that embodies her mission to Teach the World to Listen. She aims to ‘improve communication and social cohesion by encouraging everyone to discover new ways of listening as proven in her book Listen World! We want to inspire, to create, to engage and to empower’.
A composer and jazz pianist, Jill Jarman’s music reflects diverse genres, effortlessly merging the boundaries between classical and jazz. "...Art music with jazz waywardness…" [Swedish dagbladet]. A fascination with music from different cultures blurs these boundaries further, and can be heard in works such as Echoes From the Birdcage, an ensemble piece with Evelyn Glennie showing aspects from the multi-cultural sound world of London’s Kings Cross.
Her music sways between an almost timeless suspension and rhythmical energy, as in Soundwaves of Light, an orchestral piece based on light emissions from the stars in the sky. Science and the natural world often inform her creative process allowing new compositional devices to occur, engaging the listener in an evolving and multi-layered sound-world. She created a new harmonic system, Polychords of limited transposition, which can be heard in many of her pieces.
Recent commissions include double concerto Mindstream for Evelyn Glennie and Hugo Ticiatti with the O/mordant chamber orchestra. Currently she is working on a double concerto series Across the Divide, bringing ‘background’ instruments forward as soloists to create new sound worlds. The first of the series is for bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku and Evelyn Glennie, and the second is for harpist Katrin Finch. Works for voices include St Georges Mass for St George’s church Bloomsbury, and Revelation performed at the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music. 2020 sees the release of a CD by Chelys and Fieri Consort (voices) to include Jill's piece Now are my Thoughts At Peace.
Described by Gramophone as having released 'unquestionably the most beautiful recording of the Lachrimae', Chelys have garnered a reputation for their faithful yet fresh interpretations of the consort repertoire. The members of Chelys are among the UK’s leading exponents of the viol, particularly as a consort instrument, and their consort viols are strung entirely in gut (not strings overwound with metal), which lends them a particularly distinctive sound. They frequently collaborate with other period instrumentalists and singers, particularly enjoying repertoire for voices and viols. A recent highlight has been a project with vocal consort Fieri, performing and recording the complete 5-part viol fantasias of Michael East alongside some of East’s compositions for voices and viols. As part of the project the two ensembles also commissioned a piece from Jill Jarman, to celebrate writing for voices and viols 400 years after East published his pieces.
Chelys were delighted to join Dame Emma Kirkby for her 70th birthday celebration concert at the Wigmore Hall last year, and their performances and recording of Dowland with Emma and lutenist Jamie Akers have been beautifully melancholic! The consort record for the BIS label, and most recently they have been performing and recording the music of Henry Purcell, some of the latest, and many would say best music written for the viol consort.
The singers for The Language of Bells are among the leading consort singers in the UK. Chelys have been delighted to frequently work with two of them before, and are looking forward to the kind of particularly fruitful results that come from working with friends as well as outstanding colleagues on a shared collaboration. Emily Atkinson (soprano), David Gould (countertenor), Steven Harrold (tenor) and Robert Rice (bass) can be found all over the globe with ensembles including the Tallis Scholars, The Cardinall's Musick and Alamire, and as both consort singers and soloists on many recordings.
Thank you for reading our page, and for your support - let's make music!