Recording Part Two of my String Orchestra Disc with Longbow

Posted in News on July 4th, 2015 by Nigel – Comments Off on Recording Part Two of my String Orchestra Disc with Longbow

Ensemble Longbow. Photograph by Malene Sheppard Skaerved

Yet again a big thank you to Peter Sheppard Skaerved, and all the players of ‘Longbow’Jonathan Haskell (Engineer) and Kickstarter supporters for the wonderful recording session (30th June)!! We recorded the final two works `Pulp Rags’ and `Parnassus’ for 13  piece string orchestra. It is such a privilege and inspiration to have music played and recorded by such energised musicians.

The players of Longbow are:

Longbow – Director/Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Aisha Orazbayeva, Midori Komachi, Alice Barron, Annabelle Berthome Reynolds, Sara Cubarsi, Shulah Oliver, Morgan Goff, Diana Mathews, Evie Heyde, Valerie Welbanks, Rachel Meerloo.

`Parnassus’ was my very first 13 piece string orchestra work written for Peter Sheppard Skaerved back in 1988, and `Pulp Rags’ is my latest which commemorates Dover’s (now closed) Buckland Paper Mill. The work was written for Dover Arts Development (DAD). I was privileged to have been part of an artistic collaboration with Malene Sheppard Skaerved with DAD led by Joanna Jones and Clare Smith.

 

Here is a sneak preview of some unedited outtakes/’bolt ups’ from our recording session.

Pulp Rags

Parnassus

A short clip from a CD recording session of `Pulp Rag’

Four Concerts – Three States & Two Premieres!!!

Posted in News on July 4th, 2015 by Nigel – Comments Off on Four Concerts – Three States & Two Premieres!!!

State 1 –  TennesseeIMG_4759

Nigel travelled recently with writer  Malene Sheppard Skærved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA to work with Dr Reed Thomas and the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Wind Ensemble on `A Richer Dust’ (Symphony No 1) for Speaker and Symphonic Wind Orchestra. ‘A Richer Dust’ explores what it means to live with violence and extremism, the constant companions of human history. The intertwined text and music, ideas and images, weave together voices ranging from those of historically significant figures through to the voiceless, ordinary people living in extraordinary times. For Nigel this was an exhilarating experience witnessing his 50 minute plus epic come to life combined with Malene’s powerful words. H Stephen Smith lent his voice a dramatic reading of the text.

During their stay at MTSU the University recorded `A Richer Dust’ for future CD release. The recording engineers led by Zak Denham made themselves available throughout our visit, taking notes on how best to capture the piece that presented several large issues.

 

A Richer Dust - front cover

 

 

Reed Thomas said publicly on social media:

“A highlight of my career was the premier of “A Richer Dust” a symphony for Wind Ensemble and Narrator by composer and Nigel Clarke and Writer Malene Sheppard Skaerved. What an absolutely incredible work of art. H. Stephen Smith was inspirational in his delivery of the text and the wind ensemble musicians were stunning. For anyone lucky enough to be present, we were all part of something magical. Thank you everyone for your work and dedication to excellence”

 

Here is a sneak preview of some outtakes/’bolt ups’ from our recording session.
Writer Malene Sheppard Skærved experiments with a Mahler-Box made by Reed Thomas for the World Premiere of `A Richer Dust’
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Malene Sheppard Skærved, H. Stephen Smith & Nigel Clarke acknowledge conductor Reed Thomas for his profound and moving reading of this premiere!!
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State 2 –  Louisiana 

 

After visiting MTSU, Nigel travelled on to Northwestern State University (NSU) in Louisiana to work with Dr Jeffrey Matthews and the NSU Wind Symphony and Dan McDonald and the NSU Wind Ensemble. The Wind Symphony gave an electric rendition of `Earthrise’ full of energy and colour. The Wind Ensemble premiered Nigel’s `Old World Overture’ to great effect.
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Dr Jeffrey Matthews and the NSU Wind Symphony performing `Earthrise’

 

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Nigel with Paul Christopher (Cello professor at Northwestern State University)
Paul gave a wonderful rendition of Nigel’s solo cello work `Spectroscope’ during his stay.

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Nigel holding Jeffrey Matthews extra-large score of `Earthrise’

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Jeffery Matthews after a Sunday afternoon Concert event in Natchitoches – (Jeff’s the one with the bottle by the way!!)
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State 3 –  Minnesota Story to follow shortly
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Harmen Vanhoorne giving the World Premiere of `Mysteries of the Horizon’ with the University of St Thomas Wind Ensemble under the baton of Matthew J George

 

An short extract of Harmen Vanhoorne (Cornet) giving the premiere of Nigel Clarke’s `Mysteries of the Horizon’ (IV. The Discovery of Fire) with the University of St Thomas Wind Ensemble under the baton of Matthew J George on 17th May 2015.

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Harmen Vanhoorne recording a short section from my concerto `Mysteries of the Horizon’ (I. The Menaced Assassin) under the baton of Matthew J George with the University of St Thomas Wind Ensemble

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Harmen Vanhoorne recording a short section from my concerto `Mysteries of the Horizon’ (III. The Flavour of Tears) under the baton of Matthew J George with the University of St Thomas Wind Ensemble

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Grimethorpe Colliery Band appointments Nigel as their International Composer in Association.

Posted in News on April 29th, 2015 by Nigel – Comments Off on Grimethorpe Colliery Band appointments Nigel as their International Composer in Association.

Discussing Nigel’s appointment Dr Robert Childs (Grimethorpe’s Conductor) said, ‘after a chance phone call with Nigel a few weeks ago I was reminded how original and progressive his work is. Although Grimethorpe Band don’t do many heavyweight concerts or commission many test-pieces. I travel around the Brass Band World a lot, and am frequently asked to recommend composers exactly for those occasions. My idea is that we can partner other Bands in Europe and further afield jointly working with Nigel. I’m sure there will be the opportunity to work with Nigel on some exclusive projects too. Grimethorpe have also announced that Dan Price has been appointed as the band’s Composer in Residence.

In respect to Nigel Clarke’s appointment, Dr Childs added: “After a chance phone call with Nigel a few weeks ago I was reminded how wonderfully original and progressive his work is.  Although Grimethorpe Band does not undertake numerous heavyweight concerts or commission many test pieces, I am always asked about composers to recommend for such high profile occasions. My idea is that we can partner other bands in Europe and further afield to jointly work with Nigel on major commissioned projects that leave a lasting legacy for the whole of the banding movement.”

This will be the third time in Nigel’s career that he has held a compositional position in the Brass Band movement. In the1990’s Nigel was the first Composer in Residence to the Black Dyke Band under the directorship of James Watson. During this time Nigel wrote his Euphonium Concerto `The City in the Sea’ which was premiered and recorded by Robert as Principal Euphonium of the Black Dyke Band. From 2009 to 2015 Nigel was the first Associate Composer to Belgium’s Brass Band Buizingen under the baton of Luc Vertommen, writing them two “own choice” test pieces for the European Brass Band Championships.

Nigel is very much looking forward to renewing his collaboration with Robert Childs and bringing his recent experience of continental European brass band writing to South Yorkshire!

Grimethorpe have a long and proud tradition of collaborating with international composers including Sir Malcolm Arnold, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Hans Wener Henze. Robert sees Nigel’s appointment as building on this tradition.

`A Richer Dust’ Symphony No 1. for Speaker and Wind Orchestra

Posted in News on April 1st, 2015 by Nigel – Comments Off on `A Richer Dust’ Symphony No 1. for Speaker and Wind Orchestra

Concert%20Apr%202015%20Rev-2Very excited to be going to Middle Tennessee State University on Monday to start work on `A Richer Dust’ Symphony No. 1 for Speaker and Wind Orchestra with writer Malene Sheppard Skaerved. The project as been a collaboration with Dr Reed Thomas (Conductor) Malene Sheppard Skaerved and myself.

Using music and words, ‘A Richer Dust’ explores what it means to live with violence and extremism, the constant companions of human history. The intertwined text and music, ideas and images, weave together voices ranging from those of historically significant figures through to the voiceless, ordinary people living in extraordinary times.

`Radio 3 In Tune’ interview with Nigel

Posted in News on March 10th, 2015 by Nigel – Comments Off on `Radio 3 In Tune’ interview with Nigel

 

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A 1996 `Radio 3 In Tune’ interview with Nigel.

 

 

 

Nigel on Kirklees Competition Panal

Posted in News on March 10th, 2015 by Nigel – Comments Off on Nigel on Kirklees Competition Panal

Nigel visited University of Salford  where he was part of the adjudication panel judging the Kirklees Music Composition Competition. Congratulations to the winner, Andrew Crampton for his wining piece. Nigel also gave a Composition Masterclass to the University composition students during the afternoon.

 

 

* * * Projects for early 2015! * * *

Posted in News on January 10th, 2015 by Nigel – Comments Off on * * * Projects for early 2015! * * *

Already for Nigel 2015 has some exciting, new and challenging composition projects.

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Brendan Ball – principal trumpet of The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Brendan Ball (the principal trumpet of The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) will perform new works by Tim Jackson, Tim Souster and Nigel Clarke on 20 March in the Fielden Centre, Liverpool. Nigel’s work called a `Magritte Fantasy’ is a reworking of material from his award wining concerto `Mysteries of the Horizon’.

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Malene Sheppard Skærved’s sketches for `A Richer Dust’

Reed Thomas

Reed Thomas

April will see the premier of  `A Richer Dust’ (Symphony No 1) for Speaker and Symphonic Wind Orchestra, this work (which if nearly 50 minutes in length) is a collaboration with writer Malene Sheppard Skærved and Nigel’s most recent composition project to date.

`A Richer Dust’  was commissioned by Dr Reed Thomas and the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Wind Ensemble where Nigel has been appointed  Composer to Bands. `A Richer Dust’ will be premiered on 14 April 2015 by Dr Reed Thomas (Conductor), H. Stephen Smith (Speaker) and the MTSU Wind Ensemble in the T. Earl Music Hall, Wright Music Building, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA. Using music and words, ‘A Richer Dust’ explores what it means to live with violence and extremism, the constant companions of human history. The intertwined text and music, ideas and images, weave together voices ranging from those of historically significant figures through to the voiceless, ordinary people living in extraordinary times.

Matthew J George

Matthew J George

May will see the premiere of Nigel’s symphonic wind orchestra transcription of his Trumpet/Cornet Concerto `Mysteries of the Horizon’. Under the baton of Prof Matthew J George, the University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble will give the premiere and then go on and record the work with Harmen Vanhoorne as soloist. The premiere will take place in St Paul, Minnesota, USA.  `Mysteries of the Horizon’ will be come out on the prestigious Innova recording label. Matthew J George and the University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind have recently recorded Nigel’s `Mata Hari’ for Innova and will be released later on in the year.

In the coming months string ensemble Longbow (under the direction of violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved) will record the final two works for a disc of Nigel’s string orchestra music. The disc will represent Nigel’s collaboration with writers Martin Westlake and Malene Sheppard Skærved, violinst Peter Sheppard Skærved, Longbow and Dover Arts Development.

 

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Longbow recording Nigel’s music

 

In the coming months string ensemble Longbow (under the direction of violinist  Peter Sheppard Skærved) will record the final two works for a disc of Nigel’s string orchestra music. The disc will represent Nigel’s collaboration with writers Martin Westlake and Malene Sheppard Skærved, violinst Peter Sheppard Skærved, Longbow and Dover Arts Development.

A Weekend with Fédération Musicale de Franche-Comté

Posted in News on December 6th, 2014 by Nigel – Comments Off on A Weekend with Fédération Musicale de Franche-Comté

IMG_0708A big thank you to la Fédération Musicale de Franche-Comté and Conductors this weekend (1st & 2nd December).

I have just had a wonderful and intense weekend working with French conductors on my music. The weekend was organised by la Fédération Musicale de Franche-Comté organised by their inspiring Artistic Director and conductor Miguel Etchegoncelay. Congratulations to conductors’ Antoine Salvi, Antoine Rabut, Laurent Silvant and Celine Pellmont for their professional and enthusiastic work on my pieces (Earthrise & Tilbury Point). The weekend was held in two locations, Befort in the Franche-Comté région and Strasbourg where all IMG_0705conductors worked with the Conservatoire Strasbourg Brass Band. We also had much time to discuss repertoire and the roll of conductor as communicator and musician as well as how to ensure the future of our musical heritage both in France and elsewhere. It is always a joy to learn how others make music – Thank you to one and all!!

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`A Richer Dust’ (Symphony No.1 for Speaker & Wind Orchestra)

Posted in News on November 27th, 2014 by Nigel – Comments Off on `A Richer Dust’ (Symphony No.1 for Speaker & Wind Orchestra)

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I am in the final stages of completing my musical collaboration with Malene Sheppard Skaerved (Words) and Reed Thomas (conductor).  “A Richer Dust” is subtitled Symphony No.1 for Speaker & Wind Orchestra and is written and dedicated to Dr Reed Thomas and the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble. The work is just short of 50 minutes in duration and deals with the subject of mans inhumanity and bigotry to his fellow man – for me personally, this is a heartfelt project, poignant in an age of populist politics, xenophobia and negative-nationalism.

 

Here are several of the opening lines from Malene Sheppard Skaerved’s powerful words:

maimed civilians
killed, murdered
unknown numbers
soldiers missing too

horror      terror      violence      war

 

if only it was someone else’s son –

mother screams

listen to me –

war is the health of the state

dirtied      bloodied      stinking

 

 

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Malene & Nigel look through the 1st draft of `A Richer Dust’

 

The title `A Richer Dust’ comes from a line in Rupert Brooke’s famous poem `The Soldier’`In that rich earth a richer dust concealed’. .

“A Richer Dust” will receive its world premiere in the spring of 2015 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA.

 

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Malene’s sketches for `A Richer Dust’

New Recording of `Samurai’

Posted in News on November 18th, 2014 by Nigel – Comments Off on New Recording of `Samurai’

IMG_0729Just received a wonderful CD Box-Set of the Banda Sinfonica Municpal De Madrid conducted by their brilliant, brilliant conductor and Musical Director Rafael Sanz-Espert. I am very proud that my `Samurai’ is one of the works that Rafael has recorded for this collection and that I was lucky enough to be in the audience in the National Concert Hall Madrid for this performance earlier in the year – Many thanks to all that made this wonderful set of recordings possible!!!

`Samurai’ is published by Maecenas music