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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

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Matthew Pollard Music Poetry

Minotaur

I don’t dwell much on past projects.  I’m always focused on the next thing.  On Friday I had a few beers with Glen Capra, and this reminded me of Glen and I recording my poem Minotaur, which had been set to music by Matthew Pollard, in one take back in 2011. I made this video afterwards, using a flip camera to get a labyrinth effect walking around in Brighton.  The poem’s hero doesn’t realise he appears monstrous to others.

 

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Greece Music Performance

Singing from the soul of Greece

 

What can you say about a singer who can moves you to tears even when you can’t understand the words. I’ve just returned from ‘The Songs of Greece’ a performance by Eleni Galanopoulou and Glen Capra, with Kostas Katoinis adding some deft and beautiful guitar to the arrangements, and featuring  a selection of songs by Hazidakis, Karonakis and Thodorakis.

Eleni Galanopoulou has a voice that is possessed of an electrifying hurt glory; and magical ability to trigger a whole range of emotions just by the sound her voice makes. Why else would I be sniffing and dabbing my eyes and feeling uplifted and affirmed in a grey and rainy lunchtime in Brighton? And I wasn’t alone in reacting this way in the Unitarian Church’s lunchtime concert.

I have worked with Glen Capra on a few projects, including the CD of Clameur. And it is a privilege to see his musical partnership with Eleni Galanopoulou evolve into a masterclass of sensitive and complementary listening and musicianship that sets the jewel of Eleni’s voice perfectly. ‘I know how and where she breathes’ he told me afterwards, and this attention to detail shows in the performance.

This is the only the second time I have heard Eleni sing, the previous time was in Kavala, Greece.  At the time, I said jokingly to Glen that it was as if the soul of Greece is singing to you. Now I don’t think this is a joke at all. There are very few voices like this, with a fiery beauty that seems to magically transcend the individual singer. Eleni Galanopoulou has one of them.

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Glen Capra and Eleni Galanopoulou

 

 

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.

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Clameur Matthew Pollard Music

Recording Clameur

Writing this a week after the recording sessions for the CD Matt and I are putting together. We recorded the tracks in St Michael and All Angel’s church in Brighton, which was the same venue that we premiered the main piece This Concert Will Fall In Love With You in the Brighton Festival Fringe in May 2010. Matt was in love with the acoustics there, and our recording engineer Simon Scardanelli loved the sound there too, and made a point of recording the silence which for all kinds of philosophical reasons I loved. I remember when we first performed the piece marvelling at how the sound from Adam’s vibraphone being bowed hung in the air for seconds, like a giant wineglass being rung with a wet finger.

Musicians were Cem Muhurram, on violin, Glem Capra on piano, Tom Norrell on marimba, and Adam Bushell on vibraphone (and marimba on Clameur track). I noticed that Adam had brought a patch of carpet to stand on. Matt and I had socked feet to prevent floor squeaks. This could not prevent the odd car going past or, this being Brighton, the yarps of stray seagulls.

The recording went smoothly, and the playing was splendid on This Concert. We doubled back at took various takes, but this was very different to how I’d read about how rock bands record. As everyone knew what we were peforming and knew our pieces we sailed through it. The choir, present in the last few variations, were sounding confident too. I had naturally been rather anxious about my own part, but I was pleased with how my performance went. Simon gave me some kind of vintage microphone which made my voice sound better, and I had a slight sore throat too, which may have worked in my favour. However we’ll have to hear what we have when Matt and I start the editing process with Simon in a couple of weeks.

The two choral pieces Found, and Clameur were then recorded, while I ran through Minotaur with Glen. This was literally a last minute piece, Matt had finished the score for the morning of the rehearsal, after we’d talked about it a couple of weeks ago. By 9:00pm everyone was a bit shattered, and all of us were all quite keen to get to the pub. Full of a slightly crazed energy, Glen and I did Minotaur in one take, which for a novice like me was exhilarating. And what we recorded was the first time the piece had ever been played right through.

Next steps are to work with Simon and start to create a definitive sound for the CD. I have also been working on designing the cover, employing some photos that were taken by the excellent Adrian Turner at our final pre-recording rehearsal.

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Clameur Matthew Pollard Music

It’s ‘Clameur’

So Matt and I have agreed our CD will be called Clameur. This is the title of one of the choral pieces Matt based on my poem of the same name, which appeared in A Guernsey Double. Clameur means a cry or plea, and there is an ancient legal procedure still extant in Guernsey law called Clameur de haro. But the idea of a heartfelt cry certainly fits the empassioned nature of the main piece This concert will fall in love with you too.

Matt has begun to rehearse the choir for the three choral pieces. They have already started tackling Clameur and Adam. Last night we got together with Cem Muharren (violin), Adam Bushell (vibraphone), Tom Norrell (Marimba) and Glen Capra (piano) for our first pre-recording rehearsal for the longest piece This concert will fall in love with you. I was a bit twitchy beforehand as it is a year since we performed it for three nights only. But although a bit rusty, I felt I was picked up the threads fairly well and mostly finding my cues.

As ever a humbling and fascinating process working with professional musicians. Although everyone was relaxed and cheery, nobody messed about and biffed straight into it. I find it exhilarating, and a good antidote to the often solitary life of a writer.