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July 2021 New Release Round-Up

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29 June 2021 Comments Off on Jeremy Pike Joins Composers Edition Views: 437 CE News

Jeremy Pike Joins Composers Edition

A very warm Composers Edition welcome composer Jeremy Pike as he moves into a new gear with his composing activities, alongside his role as Head of Composition at Chetham’s School of Music. His extensive list of compositions comprises orchestral, chamber and vocal music, including Missa Brevis commissioned by Warwick University, a bassoon concerto for Graham Salvage & the RNCM New Ensemble and The Crossing Point, premièred by the City of London Sinfonia. His works have been frequently broadcast on BBC radio and television and released on albums.

I am delighted to be joining Composers Edition and look forward to becoming part of such an exciting and varied group of composers. The outstanding team at Composers Edition perform a vital role in making new music more widely available, so as we emerge from a pandemic that has created many challenges for musicians from all walks of life it will be especially important for composers to be able to disseminate music more extensively and reach new audiences.  Last year saw the release of my setting of W.B. Yeats’ “The Cat and the Moon” on Divine Art Recordings, performed by soprano Lesley-Jane Rogers, as part of a CD of music by several composers written in celebration of Sir John Manduell – including works by other CE members. This year will continue to be busy with work on my new violin concerto and making preparations for producing a CD of all my music for violin and keyboard, including works commissioned by my violinist daughter Jennifer Pike and the pianist Martin Roscoe. I also look forward to continuing to work with my outstanding composition students at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester and directing the Chetham’s Contemporary Music Ensemble in performances of their works. Many of them will I am sure also become CE members in the future!

Jeremy Pike

An initial selection of works focusses on chamber works including Aria – Commemoration an adaption of the first movement of his bassoon concerto for bassoon and piano, a number of works composed for star violinist (and Jeremy’s daughter) Jennifer Pike and the Stamford Choral and Orchestral Society commissioned Summer in Winter.

Aphelion

for violin and piano

Aphelion. “That point of a planet’s or comet’s orbit at which it is furthest from the sun”
(The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary).

This work uses material derived from a pattern of ever widening intervals, which diverge in contrary motion from a central note (C) to portray an elliptical orbit. This arrives at the point of the aphelion on F and G, which are the last notes to be reached in the interval series. In essence the work describes the concept of being far from a centre, of inestimable loneliness and passionate longing combined with moments of serenity and repose.

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Aria – Commemoration

for bassoon and piano

This is an adaptation of the first movement of Pike’s Concerto for Bassoon and Chamber Orchestra, which was commissioned by Graham Salvage and first performed in 1995. The principal ideas of the Aria are a fivenote ostinato, which plays almost continuously with constantly shifting harmony, and a slowly evolving lament for the bassoon. A chorale appears after the opening section which is derived from VE Day, A Commemoration, a brass sextet he composed for the VE Day 50th anniversary commemoration service in Manchester Cathedral.

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A Forsaken Garden

for treble recorder, clarinet, viola and piano

This piece was specially commissioned for performance in the William Alwyn Festival 2016. It takes its title from a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, who was inspired by the desolate contrast between land and sea in several of his poems, particularly through his visits to Suffolk and the lost town of Dunwich.

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Cascades

for violin and harpsichord

Cascades was inspired by a walk along a fast-flowing stream created by melting ice, where the cold, clear water cascades over a series of waterfalls. These are represented by rapid note figurations in the harpsichord, generally falling in pitch but sometimes bouncing back upwards again. Meanwhile the violin part is essentially melodic, conveying the conflicting emotions of the walker contemplating the disturbing effects of the warming climate, whilst observing the ever-changing patterns of reflected light in the stream as it tumbles down the rocks.

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Praesagium

for violin and piano

This work was written for Jennifer Pike to perform in the string semi-finals of BBC Young Musician of the Year 2002. It was composed during the summer of 2001 whilst staying in Bowdoin, New England, USA, and completed in September of that year. The title means “premonition”, and the piece uses a range of violin techniques to elaborate a dark, expressive melody imbued with a deep sense of foreboding. The piece was inspired by a vivid dream with images of a deserted, ruined city, an idea made all the more extraordinary by the fact that this title was chosen just days before the attack on the Twin Towers.

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Summer in Winter

for SATB choir and organ

Commissioned by Stamford Choral and Orchestral Society. First performance in Stamford, Lincolnshire, December 1988. Broadcasts by the BBC from Manchester Cathedral, 23 December 1995, and from Blackburn Cathedral, 23 December 1996.

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String Quartet No.5

for two violins, viola and cello

Sketched whilst Pike was living in the industrial region of southern Poland in 1979, this quartet reflects the desolation of the days preceding great political turmoil. It was completed in 1984.

The quartet received an honorary mention in the Carl Maria von Weber International Composers’ Competition in Dresden, 1985 and was premiered by the Bingham Quartet in 1988.

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