Ahead of his performance with the London Contemporary Orchestra for our year long collaborative series Erased Tapes x LCO: Purcell Sessions, Emmy Award-winning composer Michael Price releases a pair of new works titled Songs for Eveline on May 17.
Composed for his daughter, From Night and Sweet Joy are companion pieces to Shade of Dreams, the culmination on his recent album Tender Symmetry, conceived of recordings at historic locations around the country. All three pieces feature soprano Grace Davidson, who will also join Michael on May 18th at the Southbank Centre to perform Songs for Eveline alongside compositions, old and new, workshopped with the London Contempory Orchestra including some of the country’s best classical musicians.
“For a composer, writing music as a celebration for the birth of your own child seems like the most natural gift there could be. Less practical than woolly hats and blankets, but hopefully longer-lasting than flowers and chocolates. At a recording session in March 2017, at All Hallows Church Gospel Oak, the soprano Grace Davidson and a wonderful group of string players came together to record three songs, one of which, Shade of Dreams, became the final song on my last album Tender Symmetry; the other two became Songs for Eveline.”
The track titles are taken from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, as with all the lyrics on Tender Symmetry. From Night taken from the poem ‘Night’ and Sweet Joy from ‘Infant Joy’, represent contrasting sides of Blake’s prose and early childhood in general.
“From Night begins mysteriously, a gathering chorus of evening birdsong, before the starlight breaks through, and later takes the nocturnal twists of darkness and doubt that will be familiar to everyone who has been awake throughout the night. Sweet Joy has a rocking, lullaby quality meant to evoke the wordless song between parent and child, and those with good ears will be able to hear the bells of All Hallows church ringing about 40 seconds into the piece — a beautiful happy accident that was much too good to edit out,” adds Michael.
The Purcell Sessions is a year long collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra that brings handpicked Erased Tapes artists to Southbank Centre’s most intimate venue and space for artistic development, the Purcell Room, on four dates throughout 2019. In these free, open workshops, audiences get an up-close insight watching composers and some of the top contemporary classical musicians work together to test and develop new methods and palettes of sound. The works created are presented that evening in exclusive performances. Following Michael, the next artists taking part in the Purcell Sessions will be Rival Consoles on September 29 and Hatis Noit on December 6.