Categories
Clameur Matthew Pollard Music This Concert Will Fall In Love With You

Glen Capra

Glen Capra, photo by Adrian Turner

Like many of his friends, I was distressed to learn of Glen Capra’s death on 29th August in Greece. I was one of a group who regularly went for beers in The Evening Star with Glen when he made one of his regular visits back to Brighton after he had settled in Kavala.

Glen was a considerate and sensitive man, who was passionate about his relationships, music, art and life. This makes the fact that he took his own life extremely hard to take. Close friends, especially Richard Gibson, were in frequent touch with him before he died. He had been depressed and disoriented after his short marriage had abruptly ended. His death was a shock for everyone, and texts I’d had from him a few days earlier showed no sign of what was to come.

I watched Glen perform on many occasions in the UK and in Greece. He was a sensitive accompanist and wonderful pianist with a particular passion for Rachmaninov.

A little over nine years ago, Glen and I met through our mutual friend the composer Matthew Pollard. Matt and I were collaborating on a project that was to become This Concert Will Fall In Love With You — later recorded with additional material as the CD Clameur and Glen was Matt’s first choice to play piano. Matt and Glen had were old friends, performing together in the Tacet Ensemble and The Rainbow Chorus for example. Matt also wrote three linked compositions called Three Portraits for Poet and Piano, which Glen and I performed in its premiere in 2012.

Clameur written my Matthew Pollard and Peter Kenny featuring Glen Capra on piano.

For me it was the start of a friendship that would endure until now. Glen was a thoroughly good bloke, who was hugely liked by a great many people. I will miss him.

Below is a YouTube video of Minotaur, one of the Three Portraits for Poet and Piano by Matt Pollard with Glen on piano and me doing the words.

Featuring Glen Capra on piano, Minotaur by Matthew Pollard and Peter Kenny

Categories
Clameur Matthew Pollard Music Performance Poetry This Concert Will Fall In Love With You

The story of your eyes

Matt003.JPG
Matt Pollard conducts The Tacet Ensemble, with Peter Kenny

Met up with my great friend Matt Pollard recently, with whom I collaborated on the high concept piece This Concert Will Fall In Love With You in the Brighton Fringe back in 2010.

It was a strange idea in retrospect, that a concert could be haunted by an entity with a voice who fell in love with the audience, only to be left brokenhearted as the concert finished and the audience departed.

Naively, I thought that by combining contemporary classical music with poetry you’d double your audience. While we had a more than healthy turnout for our three concerts, the area of the Venn diagram where lovers of poetry and new classical music overlapped was pretty small. I wrote highly-charged prose poetry monologues, and Matt put them to some utterly exquisite music.  I also decided, quite rationally of course, that dressing up as a Victorian undertaker was a good idea. I was convinced that the piece was a melodrama, and so dressed accordingly.

I’m still very proud of this work, and working with Matt was an education. Through his enthusiasm I listened to all kinds of music I would never have otherwise encountered. Some time later we recorded the piece and made the world’s worst selling CD from it, called Clameur.

If you have a moment, listen to this, one of the tracks from the album, called ‘the story of your eyes’. If you’d like to hear the rest of the work, it’s on Spotify under Pollard & Kenny. The words are below.

The story of your eyes

Because you are still here, I choose to tell you now that your eyes are beautiful.
To me, they are your supreme feature. When you gaze at me, I come to life.

It’s as if I called out, like a poet in a storm, and suddenly you tumbled wingless from the sky just to see me.

Your fascinated eyes inspire me; they have seen unimaginable things, and now I live among them in the cinema of your mind.

But when you look away, my love, darkness advances. For I believe that beams of light shine from your eyes. And just to be seen by you is to bask in perfect light.

I adore the colour of your eyes, but I love your pupils even more. I watch them dilate, excited by the dark. Or I see them contract to pinpoints when you are led into uncertainty, our tracks melting behind us in the paper-white snow.

I gaze back at you now, transfixed by your eyes and their flecked perfection.

Categories
Music Poetry Telltale Press

A stocktake

Thanks to hefting a sack of wet sand just before New Year, January was a trapped nerve. Weeks of sleepless and painful nights left me groggy. In one fanboy moment I tweeted (it seemed right) Pascale Petit about her fabulous poem Ortolan about her father eating a songbird. She told me that it was written after a sleepless night in Paris. I wish insomnia made me anywhere near as creative. Anyhow, with January swept under the carpet this is a snapshot what I’m up to, and who I’m up to it with.

  • Board Games a rather surprising entry this. But I find that I am long-range adviser to Amanda Milne, doyenne of New Zealand’s board game inventors at SchilMil, who is planning to set a game on an island well known to me.
  • Music I have begun a new collaboration with Helen Russell, a Hove based composer, who got in touch after hearing the Clameur CD I did with Matt Pollard. My project with Helen is in its infancy, but it is a longer piece of music with orchestra and singers. We are basing the piece on a story by Jose Saramago. This is the first time I have worked with an existing text as a springboard but, now I have adjusted to the idea, I’m quite enjoying the structure this provides. It is exciting to sit at the piano listening to Helen play some of her emerging beautiful fragments and sketches. I’ve already begun to supply some words, and I’m fascinated to see how this project unfolds.
  • Peter Kenny The Writer Ltd. Already this year I have been working on  IBS and swine health projects. Annoyingly other more glamorous projects are about to go live, but I cannot yet speak of them due to commercial sensitivity. In the could-do-better department, however, I am also working to improve my marketing blog.
  • Poetry Under the benign influence of Robin Houghton, I am being more methodical about sending my poems out for publication. There was room for improvement. But after a few weeks I’ve already had an acceptance already from Helen Ivory at Ink Sweat & Tears. I am also now firmly part of Telltale Poet’s Collective with Robin Houghton. We are about to go into Borg mode and assimilate new poets. Further readings and publications will be announced. I’m also consumed by a passion for reading poetry again. Poets I’ve read in January included (in no particular order) Pascale Petit, David Harsent, Rhona McAdam, Tamar Yoseloff, Ester Jansma, Jorie Graham, Catherine Smith, Kathryn Simmonds, John McCullough, Stephen Bone, Tara Bergin, and Tua Forsström.
  • Prose I have vowed this year to finish my children’s novel featuring a character called Skelton Yawngrave. I have been writing this off and on for about eight years. It must end now, mustn’t it?  Could this be the year Skelton Yawngrave emerges from the shadows?

Skelton Yawngrave
Skelton Yawngrave

Categories
Clameur Matthew Pollard Music

‘Clameur’ on Spotify

Peter and Matt during the Clameur rehearsals.
Peter and Matt during the Clameur rehearsals.

I downloaded Spotify, to which we now have a premium account. I first signed up to it years ago, but in the interim it has evolved into a thing of wonder. It’s good to use. Though some of my searches resulted in nothing, there is an unimaginable wealth of stuff on there. Slightly to my surprise I found the Pollard & Kenny album Clameur too.

This gave me the opportunity to wander about my house asking people airily if they were on Spotify yet. I found they weren’t, giving me ample opportunity to explain that I was. If you have Spotify and want to hear the music, written by Matthew Pollard to my words, then here you go…

Pollard & Kenny CD now well and truly launched

The evening at the Unitarian Church was a success. The CD is now well and truly launched, and is also available for download as you can see in the panel alongside. It will also be available on Amazon and iTunes in due course.

At our gig at the Brighton Unitarian Church we were excellently supported by The Shakespeare Trio. I love the intricate interplay between their guitars.

Matt was pleased with Three Portraits for Poet and Piano. In performing them I had to hang onto Glen’s nodded cues for grim death. But I managed to get through these without slipping up, which was something of a triumph.

Clameur was sung really well by the new The Brighton Choral Project. I find it very moving to hear my words about Guernsey being sung this way, especially since my Mother was in the audience who also loves that place.

Finally we went into our This Concert Will Fall In Love With You epic. Matt and I very pleased with how this went. I thought Cem on violin played a blinder. Had the choir flanking me backstage for the last few variations. At one or two points it was aurally like having angels on my shoulders.

Below a shot from the rafters with the whole lineup for This Concert Will Fall In Love With You. Left to right Glen Capra on piano, at the back me in the grey jacket flanked by Matt’s new choir The Brighton Choral Project, in front of us, Adam Bushell on vibraphone, Cem Muhurrem on violin, Tom Norrell on marimba, and Matt Pollard with his back to the camera conducting us all.

Clameur launch 8pm Saturday 11th Feb

Well here we go… Just about to launch the album. Rehearsals went fairly well on Wednesday, with a really nice feeling a bit like getting the band together. Also the album should be available to buy and for download next week. So here is the programme for the launch. Truly exciting. And of course rather nerve-wracking.

At last in flesh and blood…

This arrived hot off the press this morning. Rather exciting!

Clameur: The Words

After some humming and hawing Matt and I decided not to include the words as part of the CD packaging. However the booklet is available as a free download on the Pollard & Kenny site.

It contains all the words for This Concert Will Fall In Love With You, Clameur and Minotaur.

Categories
Clameur Matthew Pollard Music

Clameur Launch 11 February 2012

The Clameur album launch will be on 11th February 2012 at the Unitarian Church in New Road Brighton. For those that know Brighton this couldn’t be more central, and is the big church with classical columns a few doors up from Brighton’s Theatre Royal and opposite the Dome Box Office and Mash Tun pub.

The concert will feature all the musicians on the recording, (Glen Capra, Cem Muharrem, Tom Norell and Adam Bushell) and due to the highly emotional and love-lorn nature of “This Concert Will Fall In Love With You” (which dominates the album) we have timed the album launch to be just before Valentine’s day.

We have also asked The Shakespeare Trio who feature Shakespeare’s sonnets and great guitar as our support.

Personally I am excited by the whole thing, and also nerve wracked. Will have my hands on the actual CD within two weeks. We are making personal invitations to the launch, but if you’d like me reserve a seat for you, simply email.

Minotaur

Here is a video I shot for the short track Minotaur on my forthcoming CD with Matthew Pollard called Clameur. Whipped quickly around Brighton with my flip camera. Rather pleased with the result…