Thursday, 10 December 2009

Filming of Eye to Eye

Following the success of The Eye to Eye concert at The Cadogan Hall in September, a generous American patron arranged for my piece - along with The Holy City - to be recorded and filmed in the same venue in front of a private audience. This time I conducted, and it was a real joy to work with the English Chamber Orchestra and the highly talented young Palestinian soprano Dima Bawab. I will soon be able to post some of the film on my website - so watch this space.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Fair Albion made CD of the Week on Classic FM

Last week, Fair Albion was Classic FM's CD of the Week. Every morning between 10 and 10.30, Simon Bates played a different track from the album, and there was a terrific response from the Classic FM listeners. It is always a strange but wonderful experience to hear your music being transmitted over the airwaves, and I consider it a great honour to have had two albums making it to CD of the Week during a six month period.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Standing Ovation in Douai Abbey

The world premiere of Song of Songs in Douai Abbey was a huge success. The Cecilia Consort sang with real professionalism and it was wonderful for me to work once again with Patrick Craig and Tim Bennett, both of whom sang on the original recording of Blue in Blue. To hear my great friend Jan Coxwell sing the soprano solo in Song of Songs, though, was the highlight of the evening. She effortlessly managed the top C's and D's and gave real passion to her interpretation of my brother's words. The standing ovation and electric atmosphere made this an occasion I will never forget. I sincerely thank the audience for their warm response as well as all those who performed and were involved with the event's organisation.

Here I am pictured with Jan rehearsing Song of Songs. Many thanks to Harry Cruickshank for the photo.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Concert in Douai Abbey

This coming Saturday I am conducting a concert of my music in Douai Abbey. This will be a special occasion for me for all sorts of reasons. My first teaching post was at Pangbourne College which is very near Douai. I coached a rugby team which played Douai School, and I used to visit the abbey many times for concerts and services. Just before I left Pangbourne, I played a Handel Organ Concerto on the newly restored (beautiful!) organ with a local orchestra. Being back there this coming weekend will evoke many happy memories.

I am also thrilled to be working with the Cecilia Consort. This excellent choir was formed by my dear friend Janet Coxwell and I have been involved in various projects with them over the years. Jan premiered my song cycle The Call with The English Chamber Orchestra in Lincoln Cathedral in June 1999, and it is Jan who appeared as soprano soloist on my debut album Blue in Blue. It will be a joy to hear her sing the Blue in Blue pieces and also Song of Songs. I am going to accompany her in three songs from The Call as well. Roger Sayer is playing the organ and my great friend Hugh Webb will be playing harp. I hope to see you there!

Friday, 9 October 2009

David Dane Exhibition

As well as being a wonderful artist, David Dane is a neighbour and trusted friend. His paintings are quite magical and really do capture the spirit of the Norfolk Broads. I am delighted to be associated once again with his bi-annual exhibition at the Broads Wildlife Centre in Ranworth. The exhibition opens on 7th November and runs through to the 22nd November. On the three Sundays, I will be at the Wildlife Centre from 2.00 pm to talk about my music and perform some of my pieces on the piano. I will feature the Three Broadland Preludes which appear on my brand new album Fair Albion:Visions of England and also play pieces from Towards the Light. Signed copies of all of my albums will be on sale. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Interview with Aled

On September 6th I was Aled Jones’s guest on his Radio 2 'Good Morning Sunday' programme. It was great fun and a real pleasure to meet Aled. I spoke about my album 'Song of Songs' and they have been playing tracks from the album on the show over the last couple of weeks. I also provided the 'moment of reflection'.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Premiere of Eye to Eye

The world premiere of my latest piece ‘Eye to Eye’ took place at The Cadogan Hall a week ago - 16th September.  The concert, in the presence of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, was in aid of St. John’s Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, and the programme was rich and varied. The English Chamber Orchestra played beautifully under the direction of Jason Lai, and there were memorable offerings from Charlie Siem (violinist), the Raven Quartet (with whom I've had the pleasure of working with before) and Claire Jones. My new piece finished the programme and was wonderfully interpreted by the Palestinian soprano Dima Bawab. My thanks also go to Jason for his sensitive interpretation.  We have just heard that a generous sponsor has come forward to ensure the recording of 'Eye to Eye' later this year. I am thrilled that it will now be heard be a wider audience.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Premiere of How Hill

On Saturday, the Royal Harpist Claire Jones premiered my new piece ‘How Hill’ at the Summer Reception of North Norfolk District Council. How Hill is one of the most beautiful spots on the Norfolk Broads with its distinctive windmill, majestic thatched house and sweeping lawns by the side of the River Ant. The new piece is to appear on my next album due for release in November. It was marvellous to be able to show Claire the exact spot which had inspired the music and, as usual, she played not only with real technical prowess but also an in-depth understanding of the music’s sentiments. Claire and her partner Chris spent the weekend with us, and here we are in the garden before saying goodbye yesterday. Thank you Claire for your friendship and your wonderful playing!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Eye to Eye Premiere at the Cadogan Hall

I am currently working on a new composition for premiere at the Cadogan Hall on Wednesday, September 16th 2009. The occasion is a major fundraising concert in aid of the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group. The English Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by Jason Lai (of BBC 'Maestro' fame) and will be joined by a whole array of wonderful artists. My new piece will be called' Eye to Eye'. It is a setting of words by my brother Andrew and will feature soprano, harp and clarinet solos against a backdrop of string quartet and orchestra. You can read more about the concert and the Eye Hospital here.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Inspiration in the Chilterns

Earlier this week, I spent a few days with some friends who run a wonderful B & B in the Chilterns. The house backs on to open fields and, at the moment, they are full of the most beautifull flax blossom. Sue is a fantastic gardener and it was a joy to walk around and soak up the peace and quiet. Some exciting musical ideas formulated while I was there - in particular, the opening to a Te Deum!

If you want a few days away from it all, yet within close proximity of London and the M25, you should certainly consider giving Field Cottage a try. The proprieters are Sue and Mike Jepson and the phone number is 01494 837602.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Organ Recital at Worstead Parish Church on Friday 26th June at 7.30 pm

I am giving an organ recital this coming Friday at 7.30 pm in the beautiful church of Worstead near North Walsham in Norfolk. Worstead was the original home of Worstead cloth and, though now a small village, it was once a thriving, wealthy community. For this reason, it has a very large church - almost on the scale of a cathedral! The organ is lovely too and the acoustics are fantastic. Do come along and listen. Entrance is only £5 (all of which goes to the church) and this includes wine and nibbles afterwards. I will have CDs and scores on sale. Among other things, I am playing a Handel Organ Concerto, Elgar's Nimrod, some Scarlatti, a new piece by Nick Barton (a local composer) and my new Toccata which appears as the final track on my latest album 'Song of Songs'. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Free Download of the Moonlight Sonata (first movement)

You can read on my homepage about how this recording came into being. John Timperley was one of the greatest sound engineers of all time - and a lovely guy too. I'll never forget playing this piece for him on a lovely summer morning after a cup of tea and a chat. Download here and enjoy!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Song of Songs Quiet Day at Edenham, Lincolnshire

Not so long ago, a friend and colleague met my brother Andrew who is a priest and poet in Lincolnshire. She commented that, having met him, she finally understood ME! Certainly, we are peas in a pod, and there is nobody else I work with who is on quite the same wavelength as Andy. He has written words for me since I was at school and it was Andy who came up with the ideas of The Wedding at Cana and the Lazarus Requiem. He wrote the words too for my best-known piece Quanta Qualia.

Every year or so I lead a quiet day at his vicarage near Bourne in Lincolnshire. Known as the Regional House, there are retreats, meetings and quiet days there most days of the week. The hundreds of people who associate with the house bring to it a marvellous atmosphere of warmth, hospitality and spirituality. In the photo above, you can see those who joined Andy and me last week. Andy spoke about the three main areas of the Song of Songs - desire, intimacy and union/marriage. I then added to what he had said and spoke about the way these things are reflected in the actual music. There were breaks throughout the day for people to reflect, a midday Mass and a delicious lunch. We finished with Perfect Love and The Lord's Prayer - and the Toccata formed a suitable Recessional!

Andy and I are in the middle of the photo. On the very left is the old French Assistant from my secondary school. (We hadn't met for almost forty years!) Hidden in there too is Pauline, a remarkable, visionary lady. She would like to form a prayer support group to assist Andy and me in our work. I'll be posting an e mail address for her if you are interested in getting involved.

Discussing a point of interpretation with Julian

It was a real joy to work with Julian Lloyd Webber last week. He has a tone richer and more beautiful than any I have heard in live performance. We recorded the piece he premiered for me at Leeds Castle last year - Gloriette - which is the name of the main round building of the castle.

Some more photos from the latest recording session

Alex and Claire are in the first photo. Alex has been producer on all of my albums, starting with Blue in Blue which we recorded in 2002. I absolutely trust his judgement! Claire is a great friend and a fantastic harpist - the current royal harpist in fact. On this new album, she plays a piece with Julian Lloyd Webber, accompanys Elin in a setting of a poem by Christina Rossetti and plays a brand-new solo harp piece called How Hill.

Below this, I am with the two studio engineers Nick and Tom.

Elin Manahan Thomas and the Raven Quartet

Last Thursday, I had the privilege of working with Elin Manahan Thomas again.  It is Elin who features on the latest album Song of Songs and now has two new items on the next album (for release in October.)  Here we are in the studio, together with two members of the Raven  Quartet - Natalie and Steph.

Monday, 8 June 2009

New CD Recording Session

The recording of some tracks for my new CD took place on Thursday 4th June as outlined in my last blog. It was all a great success - and great fun too! We started with the new piece for the sensational Raven String Quartet who then went on to accompany Elin Manahan Thomas in one of my song settings. Claire Jones brought her beautiful gold harp and also accompanied Elin in a song before recording her brand new piece 'How Hill'. Julian Lloyd Webber arrived in the afternoon and joined forces with Claire for a new transcription of 'Reflexionem', and then I really enjoyed accompanying Julian in the cello and piano piece 'Gloriette'. I finished off the day by playing my three new Broadland Piano Preludes. Like 'How Hill', these are all inspired by the area of Norfolk where I now live.

Alex Van Ingen was producer again and as professional as ever - and, throughout, my manager Paul Wing was at my side, helping to keep me sane. I am very grateful to all who took part - and also to my niece Hannah who helped things to run smoothly in her role as agent to Elin and The Raven Quartet. On this occasion, I managed to get some great photos. I will be posting these on this part of my website in a day or so's time - so do come back!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Toccata Premiere

The premiere of my organ toccata took place on Sunday (May 10th).  The occasion was the LONDON FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY CHURCH MUSIC at Westminster Cathedral. Roger Sayer, who plays the Toccata on my new CD, played and this was the official world premiere! Unfortunately, I couldn't attend but I'd love to hear from anyone who was there. Please tell us all what you thought about it by commenting on this blog.

I am busy now preparing for the recording of my October release THE ESSENTIAL PATRICK HAWES. We record in early June.  Julian Lloyd Webber, Elin Manahan Thomas and the wonderful royal harpist Claire Jones are all contributing.  Julian is playing a new version of Reflexionem with Claire on the harp. Elin is recording a song with me at the piano and another with Claire, and I am recording a set of new piano pieces. And all this in one day!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Welcome to my new site!

Welcome to my new website! I hope you'll enjoy the new features which include a more comprehensive audio section, this interactive 'news' page and a paypal facility for the purchase of signed CDs and scores. There is also more information about my work for film and television, and the facility now exists for regular updates to the news and information pages. So, do watch this space...

The end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 has been very exciting for me. It has just been confirmed that I am to complete The Highgrove Suite for HRH The Prince of Wales. This began as a single work for harp and string orchestra and was performed on the Prince's 60th birthday at the Floral Hall, Covent Garden. The harp part was written specially for the Royal Harpist Claire Jones who has not only become a great friend but also plays the harp with such finesse and artistry. My thanks go to Owain Arwel Hughes and the Philharmonia strings for supporting Claire on that occasion. The piece I wrote was inspired by the gardens at Highgrove and is called Goddess of the Woods. It depicts that part of the garden known as the The Stumpery which is pervaded by such a feeling of magic and mystery, and the statue of the Goddess of the Woods seems to emanate warmth and majesty to the garden in its entirety. It is a great honour to have the opportunity to write pieces about three other parts of the garden, though I still have to decide exactly which these will be.

My choir Conventus has joined forces again with The English Chamber Orchestra for the recording of our latest album Song of Songs. The choir is now five years old and, with the help of its new manager Rob Johnston, is going from strength to strength. This time, we asked the stunning soprano Elin Manahan Thomas to join us. Elin's voice is so pure and rich and seems to perfectly match the clean textures of the music. She interpreted my brother's words with real integrity and emotion and I'm sure you will all be delighted with her performance. Most of the new album was recorded in December at St. Gile's Cripplegate (next to the Barbican) and then we moved to Rochester to work with Roger Sayer who is organist of the Cathedral. We spent four hours on a Friday evening listening to Roger make that mighty instrument talk, drawing out so many colours and effortlessly providing the first definitive recording of the Toccata. This piece means so much to me since I wrote it in the weeks following my father's death and it really does seem to capture something of his exuberant and fun-loving personality. Mike Hatch and the team at Floating Earth did a sterling job in capturing the sound of the two buildings, and my thanks goes out to them for their commitment, expertise and advice. I'd also like to thank Steve Long and the two Matts at Signum records and Alex Van Ingen for his outstanding work as producer. Like me, he is painstaking in his efforts to make sure everything is correctly in place and that we have drawn the very best out of our gifted players and singers. His input has been invaluable.

Some of you will have been present at last year's premiere of Lazarus Requiem at the Cadogan Hall. A recording of this work is planned for later this year and we are offering supporters of my music the chance to invest in the recording. See LAZARUS REQUIEM for more details. An album entitled The Essential Patrick Hawes is also underway for release in November. This contains some of my film music and two pieces performed by Julian Lloyd Webber. The first, Gloriette was premiered at Leeds Castle last year and the second is a new arrangement of Reflexionem which you may remember from my first album Blue in Blue. There are also new pieces featuring the saxophonist Christian Forshaw, the tenor Thomas Walker and, of course, Elin Manahan Thomas. More details about The Essential Patrick Hawes will be available in the summer.

It only remains for me to thank my family, my friends and you my supporters for all the encouragement you give me. A composer is nothing without his audience and, for me, the audience will always come first. I also want to thank Pauline Gilbertson at the English Chamber Orchestra, my manager Paul Wing and Rod Steele for creating this great new site for me.

Happy listening!