Unquiet Earth

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 Unquiet Earth‘I was deeply impressed, especially by the new works. The whole event moved me to tears.’

A member of the audience after the first performance

A sequence of words and music inspired by Wuthering Heights and poems by Emily Brontë, performed by the TWO RIVERS ENSEMBLE: Clare Hammond (piano) Jane Wilkinson (soprano) Suzanne Casey (violin) Kenneth Woods (cello) & Peter Davison (narrator)

The short, difficult life of Emily Brontë produced one of the most original novels of the 19C, Wuthering Heights. In a sequence of words and music, performed by the festival’s newly formed in-house ensemble, we discover more about this enigmatic free-spirit who loved the wild moors of Yorkshire where her imagination could roam free. Todmorden-based composer Robin Walker to set five of her poems for voice, violin and piano, exploring lost love and resignation. Extracts from the novel and other writings appear alongside a stormy piano sonata by Beethoven, whose cantata about unobtainable love, Adelaide, is among the Brontës’ music collection in Haworth. Finally, the British première of Andrew Keeling’s piano trio Unquiet Earth responds to Wuthering Heights’ ambivalent final paragraphs in lyrical music of rare pathos.

 

P R O G R A M M E

  • Emily Brontë’s early life and music in the home

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)   Piano Sonata No 8 in C minor, Op.13 ‘Pathétique’

  • A poet discovered and an untimely death

Robin Walker (b. 1953)   Four Poems of Emily Brontë for soprano, violin and piano (2014)

(Interval)

Ludwig van Beethoven   Cantata for soprano and piano: Adelaide Op.46                             

  • The unattainable beloved; conflicts of heart and soul

 

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47)   ‘Adagio’ from Cello Sonata No.2 in D                            

  • Glimmers of hope and transformation

Andrew Keeling (b.1955)   Unquiet Earth’ – Trio for piano, violin and cello (2006)

About the performers and composers:

 

Pianist Clare Hammond

Pianist Clare Hammond

The Two Rivers Ensemble is a flexible group of highly skilled musicians originally created to present specially crafted concert programmes for the Two Rivers Festival. For this programme, the award-winning pianist Clare Hammond is joined by soprano Jane Wilkinson, and the violinist Suzanne Casey who plays in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The final member of the group is the gifted American cellist and conductor, Kenneth Woods, is also a member of acclaimed string trio Ensemble Epomeo, as well being Artistic Director & Chief Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra.

 

Peter Davison is the narrator for the evening. He is Artistic Director and co-founder of the Two Rivers Festival, and also Artistic Consultant to Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall; a position he has held since the venue opened in 1996. He has an M. Phil in musicology from the University of Cambridge, specialising in the music of Gustav Mahler. His booklet about Mahler, Wrestling with Angels, was issued to accompany The Bridgewater Hall’s acclaimed Mahler symphony cycle in 2010. He is also an occasional poet, writer, presenter and cultural commentator, editing a controversial collection of essays on contemporary music, Reviving the Muse, published by Claridge Press.

 

Robin Walker was born in York and attended schools attached to York Minster. He studied composition at Durham University with the Australian composer David Lumsdaine and at the Royal College of Music in London with the late Anthony Milner. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music, and at the University of Manchester, before moving to the Pennines to concentrate on composing. This reorientation led him to abandon modernism, embarking instead on a Jungian spiritual journey that redefined his style. His music integrates ritualistic elements with folk-like melody and dancing rhythmic energy. He is a truly indigenous North of England composer, and the distinctive cast of the northern upland landscape resonates in his music. He has received commissions from the Carlisle Festival, the English Chamber Orchestra, The Bridgewater Hall and the Choir of King’s College Cambridge, among others.

 

Andrew Keeling is a multi-faceted composer, musician and writer. At home in both contemporary classical and rock music he has written for the likes of Dame Evelyn Glennie, Fretwork, the Hilliard Ensemble, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Jacob Heringman, Gemini, Steve Bingham, the Bingham Quartet, Ensemble Epomeo and countless others. Keeling started composing when he was 10 but only began formal composition lessons when he was 31, studying with Nicola LeFanu, Anthony Gilbert and John Casken. Since then his music has been performed and broadcast throughout the world and has been released on the DGM, Metier, Burning Shed, UHR and Spaceward record labels. It has been published by Faber, Fretwork, Staunch and PRB Editions. He holds a PhD from the University of Manchester.

 

Technical requirements:

 

  • Chairs and two music stands
  • Concert grand piano recently tuned or serviceable equivalent upright piano
  • PA system for narrator depending on the size of venue
  • Lighting can be adapted, but rigged lighting and control panel preferred
  • Optional art display – for which a large table is needed