Friday, December 31, 2010

Errollyn Wallen, 5: For Viola Concerto 'we have an online presence for the process of its creation.'

[ERROLLYN; Errollyn Wallen and Various; Avie (2004)]

This is the final installment in the transcript of an AfriClassical interview on Dec. 24, 2010 with Errollyn Wallen, the composer, pianist and vocal artist who was born in Belize and now considers the U.K. her home. Prior posts in the series have been: Part 1 - Dec. 27, Part 2 – Dec. 28, Part 3 – Dec. 29, and Part 4 – Dec. 30. Part 5 follows:

I wanted to ask you briefly about that beautiful holiday song peace on earth! I've played it many times, and I have had friends comment on it. Particularly one of the comments was about how supportive the piano was.
Yes. Funnily enough actually, that piece actually starts, many of my songs actually start from a technical question! One was, the piano part, if you notice, was all in the upper registers to the very last note. It was about how do you create layers out of one line. What Bach did in his cello suites, for example, where you have one line but it spans three different sort of strata. Also the piano, there are these clashes between notes, in the voice and in the piano. It is the feeling of an accompaniment that rolls out, and then the voice is a simple line off the top but there is a slight feeling of clashes of the E-flats against the E in the voice, and things like that. It was written as a gift to Nicholas Riddle of Editions Peters, because he loves to sing carols. I thought I wanted to write a Winter song, very, very simple that anybody could sing, but that it suggested different layers.
I'm sorry, it was written for whom?
Nicholas Riddle of Editions Peters.
I see, and that's your publisher?
Yes, and he loves Christmas carols. And so one day I said to him, “I'm going to write a song for you.”
Oh, that's nice!
Of what I might not have touched on, what would you like to add today?
Oh, there is something I wanted to say! Over the last two years, I have been making conscious decisions to do more in the States with American musicians or ensembles. I am so pleased that is happening, because I really love it! Every musical experience that I've had here in the States has been very, very exciting to me! And I am so grateful to the people who have played my music. And somebody like Howard Stokar, I think it was him who sent a recording to Marc, and things like that. He's helped me let so many groups know about my music.
That would be Marc Peloquin, who heads the KeyedUp MusicProject?
Yes, but I think Howard Stokar put him in touch with my music!
I see.
Do you know Howard Stokar?
I've just had email exchanges with him. I haven't spoken to him.
He's been a wonderful champion of my music. I am so pleased. I'm grateful for that too.
He wrote to me, among others!
Oh! You see - nothing happens without help! I feel I've had some wonderful help! Also, there's something I wanted to mention. I have a very dear friend and colleague, Rita Porfiris, with whom I wrote some - she's played a lot of my music. She's actually at Hartt College and one of the things we're doing which you might want to talk about at a later time, I'm writing a viola concerto. But what we're wanting to do is, as I'm writing it, we have an online presence for the process of its creation. So you see me writing it and you see Rita playing it and then us discussing and refining it as we go along.
So that's great! Yes, we're looking forward to that! That will be performed at Hartt College, hopefully this year. The schedule is a bit mad!
Is that Hartt College in the United States?
Yes. And I recently wrote a piece, just in September, for violin and viola, a piece called Five Postcards. It's recorded now on a CD.
Is that on the Avie label or someone else?
It's on another label; I'm not sure which one.
I'll let you know.
That's alright. I really want to wish you well with this KeyedUp MusicProject, and also the presentation in August where you will take part as well in Tanglewood!
Thanks so much Bill! Thank you.
Thank you. Goodbye now.

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