partials, a double espresso and a Marlborough red

I'm off to Paris next week for a premier of a choral piece. I'm sure there'll be a fair amount of nostalgia as I remember the year I lived there between York University and RCM - sitting in cafes with my double espresso working out which partials to put into my music - spending hours at the "Médiathèque" zoning into Le Monte Young. I managed somehow to smuggle into a weekly class at the conservatoire with a very nice teacher and his dog and I had a few afternoons at IRCAM somehow, everyone there wearing black polo neck tops, the fun I had busking in the metro with a motley crew of string players, a lot of Tom Wait's songs and Marlborough reds - it was a good year - the Parisians were kind to me but it felt right to return to London - which had a buzz in 2000 - New Labour, Tracey Emin's un made bed and all that but topping everything my beloved RCM composing cohort Anna Meredith, Mark Bowden, Matt Rogers, Chris Mayo & Charlie Piper.

I'm looking forward to being a part of this exciting new festival "Hidden Notes" here in Stroud in September. There is a stella line up of "classical crossover" or "neo romantic" (or however you want to call it) music and I'll be joined on the line up by my Bedroom Community pals Valgeir Sigurdsson and Daniel Pioro. 

HiddenNotesLine-UpPoster.jpg

off social media

Hi I came off my only social media platform, twitter a few weeks ago (and thanks and welcome to the followers from there who have followed me here). Why? Well, I can’t say it was a measured well planned decision but I can say it simply stopped feeling like a useful space for Emily Hall the composer. I never felt comfortable adding to all the other zillions of tweets flying around, and as someone who is sensitive to information overload it felt like a positive thing to extract myself and my noise from it.  It is simply much more my style to think, think, write, rather than fire thoughts as I have them.

What am I working on at the minute? More songs for Jodie Landau - ultimately, it will be a set of 3 quite meditative pieces. The first is a setting of a small Rumi phrase, the next is woven from text by poet, Ranjit Bhatnagar, who has created sonnets exclusively from other peoples tweets (ironically). Amongst the noise of throw away comments are some very striking lyrics.

And after that? Next big thing on my writing agenda will be an opera/music theatre version of a Hans Christian Anderson story which includes children and grown ups with my old friends Mahogany Opera and my new friend and writer Melanie Golding.
 
What’s going on with Mandel/what is Mandel? Mandel is my duo - we improvise then we refine then we perform (with a few added musicians who happen to be rather top notch!) - simple as that! We’ve had a fantastic time (as you can see from some of the photos above) (and yes I even play a simple bit of harp!) and the general consensus has been that our next step is to do some recordings. We aim to, once we figure out a way, but in the meantime we’ve got more gigs coming up.

What’s premiering next? My new piece “Root, fruit, pearl, night: A hymn to the earth” for Paris Choral Society - I was asked to respond in some way to the work of Kassia, the earliest known female composer from the 8th century. It took a while to find a way in but in the end I took the English translations of all of her hymns and filtered out any references to nature (and actually interestingly there weren’t very many) starting off quite abstract “root, fruit, pearl, night” and gradually adding her descriptive language, building up to Kassia’s lyric from her most famous hymn “Accept the springs of my tears to the sighing of my heart”.

What’s new in my shop? An SATB version of ‘So Far’ which I wrote for Lady Maisery and they included on their record ‘Cycles’. A few choirs have been singing 3 part versions and so I thought I'd make a 4 part version available here.

Q Magazine
I’m in there this month! Can you guess where the piano is I'm sitting at?