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Vic Hoyland

31 March 2020 Comments Off on Vic Hoyland ‘For Joan’ and ‘For Derek John Benton’ Views: 459 CE News

Vic Hoyland ‘For Joan’ and ‘For Derek John Benton’

A concert celebrating Vic Hoyland’s piano works This One For Joan, Books 1 & 2 was due to on 26th April 2020 in San Quirico, near Montaone, Tuscany, Italy. As this is no longer possible, but wanting to still celebrate, each of the works will be performed in isolation by the musicians, recorded and shared on-line. Watch this space for news of how to access the recordings.

Written for my lifetime friend Joan Dixon, Part 1 was conceived as a tuition manual for her pupils at the universities of York and Huddersfield and Part 2 for Joan and her best students to attempt in performance. Sadly arthritis has taken its toll and Joan is no longer able to teach or perform. Wonderful that others might make best use of it.

Heloise Ph. Palmer has premiered nos. 4 (Token), 7 (7th November) and 18 (Pause). 15 more of the pieces of For Joan books will be premiered. Henry Brown and Paquito Ernesto Chiti will perform the pieces from Book 2 and Henry’s students will cover Book 1. Derek John Benton will perform nos. 12 and 13.

Also, Hoyland’s new work For Derek John Benton; because for 11 performers has been completed. This work is a birthday gift to Vic’s cousin Derek John Benton. Its premiere is planned to December in London, in time to celebrate both Vic’s and Derek’s birthdays.

About For Derek John Benton; because the composer says;

I composed this work in order to share the December birthdays of both cousin Derek John Benton and myself. Derek is a professional flautist, so this newly conceived work is something of a chamber concerto designed for him. I’ve chosen a sound world that might suggest a Serenade. And, while this celebratory work may have a lighter touch than is usual in my large-scale composition, it, nevertheless, has plenty of energy.

In an earlier work (Hey Presto!) I alluded to the various 20th century composers who had influenced my compositional thought and direction: Bruno Maderna in particular, Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Webern and Schoenberg. These are not overt quotations except for Bruno’s first oboe concert which I sought and was given permission to use.

In this new work I share some of the earlier composers who influenced me and which are performed by Derek: Bartok, Debussy, Satie, Ravel, Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen + Poulenc. Others like Cage and Feldman are hinted at. JSB couldn’t find a place in this new work but ever since my grammar school days he has been fundamental. Any programme which includes my new work might include a work by Bach.

One other – and this came to me in an intense dream – was Guillaume de Machaut. So strong was this sound memory from my undergraduate days that his music acts as the driving force behind this new work. He’s by no means the first (I do not forget Perotin and Leonin) but he displays an extraordinary certainty and assurance of large-scale formal structure that is pre-tonal and is yet absolutely logical, powerful and exciting.

The pitches G C sharp D begin his most famous love-song. It was relatively easy for me to locate this pitch combination in my working pitch tables. The fact that it was a love-song was especially relevant since virtually on immediate contact we, as cousins, knew we admired and loved each other. 

I have drawn on Part 1 of The Attraction of Opposites in particular, and something of my earliest works.  So this new work is also a celebration of what I believe I have achieved over a 55 year career in composition.

This new version includes voices and the original Alleluia Nativitatis plain-chant (of which, Machaut only employs a repeating fragment).

One more little aspect which is revealed in the central Interlude: I was able to combine our full names (Daniel Victor Hoyland and Derek John Benton) sounding pitch derivations relating to Messiaen’s system. However, I did not employ his wide-ranging pitch levels but maintained the singing area viable for the flute.

Alongside Derek we’re developing a programme of mostly French music of the early 20th century. Debussy, Ravel, Satie and Messiaen.

Why mostly French?

In the years 1965/6, as a 20 – year old university student, I visited and stayed in Paris – for the very first time. Alongside a student friend and the hosting Hebert family we travelled around, visiting French Gothic cathedrals, the Louvre and modern art galleries, attending concerts and seeing Boulez for the 1st time directing the theatre band (mostly percussion) for Jean Genet’s Les Paravents at the Odeon theatre.

A life-time’s education was crammed into just two heady years.

I didn’t yet know what my career would be but aspects of fine art and architecture, and theatre where music is an essential component (or vice-versa: music where theatre is an essential component) would all play a part. For a long time, I thought I would be an artist/ painter like my distant cousin John Hoyland.

But Normanton Boys Grammar had changed that. On hearing Bach, Beethoven and Bartok for the first time I was captured. It would be music. I was fortunate to have a fine and enthusiastic music master who had come hot-foot from Manchester University, David Jones, and a Headmaster who was fully supportive, Dr J. A. Hamilton

I would eventually find my way to the new Music Department at York University, to follow a PhD in Composition. My tutor was Bernard Rands. He was trained by Dallapiccola, Berio and Maderna. Alongside Feldman and Cage, these composers would lift my ambition to aim for something resembling that of a professional composer. William Colleran of Universal Edition attended some of my early concerts, as did Cage, and he quickly signed me up as a house -composer at the age of 27. Feldman took a particular care and interest in my work.

There is very little to no influence of English music in my work and I prefer to be called a British composer.

Vic Hoyland

Composers Edition is proud to publish Vic Hoyland’s music, including This one for For Joan and For Derek John Benton; because, which are available for perusal and purchase through our website.

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