Richard Whalley and Kevin Malone have grown a very special creative relationship with the Ebonit Quartet over the past few years. Richard Whalley tells us about their story, ahead of the release of their new album which is coming up later this year:
The collaboration with the Ebonit Saxophone Quartet began in 2016, when we invited them to the University of Manchester to give a concert, having had them vehemently recommended to us by Marc Danel, the first violinist of the Quatuor Danel – who at the time coached them on the chamber music course at Amsterdam Conservatoire. For their first visit to Manchester, Kevin composed The Housatonic at Sandy Hook and I composed Iapetus Suture.
The performances were so good, that both us composers wanted to write more music for them, and we all wanted the collaboration to continue – this was when the desire to put together an album was born. So I wrote ‘Refugees Welcome ♥’ which was premiered in 2017, then Kevin wrote The Water Protectors, premiered in 2019. All of these works turned out to be linked by a shared interested in musical activism, particularly regarding themes of social justice and protection of the environment, and we wanted something to provide a deeper connection between all the works on the CD.
This was when Kevin came up with the idea that we both write variations on the Carter Family’s 1933 When the World’s on Fire, originally a C19th tune called Oh, My Loving Brother, which was also used for Woody Guthrie’s more famous This Land is Your Land.
We both feel honoured to work with such brilliant performers, who are getting better all the time, and are incredibly grateful to them for including their works in the repertoire, which they perform in concerts all over Europe.
We at Composers Edition are looking forward to the release of this new album by Richard Whalley, Kevin Malone and the Ebonit Quartet!
Both sets of variations, and all four works are available through Composers Edition, as well as other works by Richard Whalley and Kevin Malone.
Tags: CD release, Commission, composer - performer, Ebonit Saxophone Quartet, Iapetus Suture, Kevin Malone, Refugees Welcome ♥, Richard Whalley, The Housatonic near Sandy Hook, The Water Protectors, When the World’s on Fire