I am pleased to announce that I will be writing a piece to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cambridge University Wind Orchestra. It will be premiered on 11th May 2018 and follows on from my time as Composer in Residence with Cambridge University Musical Society 2016-17. You can find out more about the ensemble here.
My lover spoke, for choir and organ, is now available to listen to at soundcloud.com/jonathanwoolgar. It was written for the Chapel Choir of Eton College and sets part of Song of Songs. The drama of the piece comes from the play of high and low, light and dark – it begins up in the stratosphere with whistling and high trebles, but this world is soon disrupted, setting the music into motion.
You can view the full text here.
My new piece for choir and organ, My lover spoke, will be premiered by the Chapel Choir of Eton College, conducted by Tim Johnson, during the chapel’s 10.30am service on Sunday 11th June. You can view the first page here. The text is adapted from Song of Songs:
My lover spoke
See! The winter is past;
My darling, arise, my flawless one, and come with me.
the rains are over and gone.
The season of signing has come,
let me hear your voice;
show me your face.
You have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes.
My Five Anatomical Sketches for solo piano will be performed by their dedicatee Philip Sharp at St John’s Smith Square, 7.30pm on Friday 28th April as part of a Park Lane Group Young Artists concert. The programme will also feature three Ligeti etudes, George Benjamin’s Shadowlines, and performances by the Pelléas Ensemble including a world premiere by Benjamin Graves. It’s sure to be a very exciting concert. Tickets are available here and you can listen to Five Anatomical Sketches here.
My chamber ensemble piece Rattle His Bones is now available to listen to at soundcloud.com/jonathan-woolgar. Below is the programme note:
Rattle His Bones is based on a little music-box chorale I wrote several years ago but never really got out of my system. The title is taken from Ulysses (although it turns out that Joyce was quoting a rather sentimental religious poem by Thomas Noel). While the instrumentation is stark – four winds, two brass and “rhythm section” – the material is not. A slow-moving, dreamlike opening, during which winds chime out the chorale, gives way to a substantial fast section with the feel almost of a medieval dance. This halts abruptly, though, at the piece’s pivot-point – the music that follows is more detached, occasionally surging or pulling back before eventually the complete chorale enters played by veiled piano and percussion. The rest is ghostly coda. Have we come back to where we started? Yes and no. The ghost train has done its circuit, but the riders have been shaken by the experience.
I was interviewed by the Cambridge University Musical Society recently ahead of my piece Rattle His Bones being premiered by their New Music Ensemble on Thursday 2nd February. It will be played alongside pieces by Mark-Anthony Turnage and John Hopkins in what is sure to be a very exciting concert. You can read the interview here and get full information and tickets for the concert here.
I recently did a “Meet The Artist” interview for Frances Wilson’s Cross-Eyed Pianist blog, in which I talk about influences, working methods and musical memories. You can read it here.