Peter Yarde Martin has just finished a Master’s degree in Composition at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, plays the organ, runs a gospel choir and performs contemporary electronica with chamber group, Sudden Junction. He is also one of our four Leverhulme Young Composers and is premiering his latest work Auguries at Debut Sounds on Monday 10 June.
We recently caught up with Peter for a quick chat about microwave music, beards and not growing up…
LPO: What was the first album / single you ever bought?
PYM: ‘Ooh La La’ by the Wise Guys – a great feelgood track!
What’s the most recent album / single etc you’ve bought?
No idea. I mostly stream everything off Spotify…
What was the last book you read?
‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ by Salman Rushdie – a miniature gem full of wit and a vivid description, with a kind of dreamlike fuzziness to it.
What’s your favourite film soundtrack?
‘Shutter Island’ has an amazing soundtrack, with loads of really well-chosen excerpts of Ligeti, Penderecki, Cage, Scelsi and stuff like that.
What is the most unusual musical instrument or ensemble that you’ve written for?
I wrote a piece just using a sampled microwave once, I guess that’s pretty unusual.
If you could go back in time and meet any composer from the past, who would it be?
I’m not sure there are many I’d want to meet, it would make listening to their music really weird! I reckon Hildegard von Bingen would be pretty interesting to meet though.
If you could collaborate with any artist from another field who might it be?
I really enjoyed rAndom International’s Rain Room at the Barbican recently – I’d love to work on an interactive piece that allowed the audience to modify the sound through their actions.
How long have you been composing for? Was there a defining moment you can pinpoint when you realised you wanted to be a composer?
Every since I can remember I’ve been making up little pieces and messing around with sounds. I was writing from quite young and it’s always been something I’ve kept drifting back to.
What else did you want to be ‘when you grew up’?
I wanted to be a music teacher like my Dad! Maybe I don’t have much imagination when it comes to career choices. These days I’m mainly focusing on not growing up.
Aside from classical/contemporary classical music, what other types of music do you listen to a lot?
Hmm. There’s lots of jazz that I like, and I listen to gospel music quite a bit. Generally any style of music with a high proportion of beard-wearing participants.
What was the last live performance you went to?
I saw Alt-J at Brixton Academy last week. None of them had beards though.
Want to know more about Peter and his upcoming premiere? Have a read of Peter’s blog about his new piece, Auguries, which will be performed at Debut Sounds on Monday 10 June at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Tickets £9, students £4. More info
You can also listen to an excerpt from his piece Comus here.
Peter is a current member of the Leverhulme Young Composers programme, alongside fellow composers Hannah Kendall, Daniel Kidane and Stephen Willey. The Leverhulme Young Composers is supported by an Arts Portfolio Grant from the Leverhulme Trust.
For more about Peter Yarde Martin and his work visit:
Where does a composer begin when writing a new piece of music? How does one shape ideas into sounds? Leverhulme Young Composer Peter Yarde Martin takes us through the creative process behind his new work, Auguries.
When I first sat down to start writing my LPO Debut Sounds piece, it seemed a pretty daunting prospect. How on Earth do you start making decisions about what to do with so many musicians at your disposal?
I spent a while thinking about the kind of orchestral sounds and colours I might like to create, and set about sketching a few little bits and pieces to toy about with. Pretty soon I landed on a progression of pitches that I liked, which solidified into a simple melody comprising four pairs of notes.
Usually I’d take this as a starting point from which I would expand and develop the melodic and harmonic properties of my basic idea, but in this case I got completely obsessed with looping these eight notes round. I’d play them at the piano repeatedly, arrange them and orchestrate them in a variety of different ways, and even when I went for a run to clear my head I’d find myself running to the rhythm of these eight notes! As much as I tried to fight this, and experiment with ways of breaking out of the loop, it became clear that the whole piece had to be about these notes, and the challenge of creating interest and progression from cyclical patterns.
There are lots of types of music based around this challenge, from passacaglias, chaconnes and ground basses in classical music, to 12-bar blues, jazz standard forms, and drum’n’bass to name just a few. I began to build up a collection of different ways of approaching cycles, from the obsessive repetition of extreme minimalism works and dance music, to the ways in which composers like György Ligeti and Thomas Adés mask the repetitive processes at work in their music. In fact this is a problem that I like to explore a lot in my composition: the interplay between cyclical and linear forms, repetition and variation.
My final piece, Auguries, moves out of this obsessive repetition fairly quickly (my attention span is too short to write highly repetitive music!), first adding layers on top of the melody so that it becomes gradually obscured in clusters of tones, and then moving to a clarinet figuration that is related to, but not obviously based upon, the main theme. The tiny variations and quirks in the first few repetitions of the theme start to take on a life of their own, becoming exaggerated and then developing into independent layers and sections. Through the entire length of the work, though, I feel like these intervals are somewhere in the background, lurking just below the surface of the music, guiding harmonic progressions and suggesting melodic material. They re-surface at the end but I’m not going to spoil it by telling you how.
I got the idea for the title halfway through the process of writing the piece, when I was searching for metaphors to help me picture exactly what I was doing with the piece. Initially I was thinking about crystals and the way in which their growth is determined by irregularities in a liquid solution. That didn’t yield many interesting titles however, and I alighted on some lines from one of my favourite poems, Auguries of Innocence by the 18th-century English poet William Blake:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
Blake’s vision of small, everyday objects and occurrences as doorways to much more profound and far-reaching truths has always fascinated me, and I began to see my simple melody as a ‘Grain of Sand’ that inherently contained whole musical worlds that my piece could inhabit. Pulling apart the intervals between my notes, taking the contour of the pitches as a starting point, and stretching its harmonic connotations, I began to find ways of developing this idea further and further. An ‘Augury’ is a divination or a prediction, and the opening of the piece, stating the melody as simply as possible, fulfils this role by containing, or at least implying, everything that follows within its sequence of eight pitches.
In the end, Auguries became a kind of sequence of variations, cycling around its central theme at varying removes, but also journeying into the worlds of patterns and colours inside what initially appears to be a fragment of simple and insignificant musical material. I hope that, if you come and see it, that the overall impression will be more “Heaven in a Wild Flower” than making eight minutes seem like “Eternity”!
- Peter Yarde Martin
Don’t miss the world premiere of Auguries at Debut Sounds on Monday 10 June, 7.30pm at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre. Tickets £9, students £4. More info.
Get to know the man behind the music in our chat with Peter, covering everything from favourite films to Alt-J gigs, beards and more…
The Leverhulme Young Composers is supported by an Arts Portfolio Grant from the Leverhulme Trust.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra was saddened to hear of the death of French composer Henri Dutilleux on 22 May 2013, aged 97.
The Orchestra has had a long and fruitful relationship with the music of Dutilleux: he was the Orchestra’s first Composer in Focus, in our 1999/2000 season. In April 2002 we gave the world premiere of his Sur le même accord with the work’s dedicatee, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, under Kurt Masur. We also gave the first UK performance of his Timbres, espace, mouvement, conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, and the cello concerto Tout un monde lointain with Rostropovich as soloist, both in March 1982.
On 26 October 2013 we perform Tout un monde lointain as part of our Royal Festival Hall 2013/14 season, under conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, with cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras. More details here.
A selection of the many tributes to Dutilleux:
The New York Times
The London Philharmonic Orchestra began its annual summer residency at Glyndebourne Festival Opera on Saturday, opening the 2013 Festival with Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. This was Jurowski’s first fully-staged Strauss opera, in his final season as Glyndebourne Music Director. This summer also marks the LPO’s 50th year as Resident Symphony Orchestra at Glyndebourne.
Here are the reviews from the Ariadne auf Naxos opening night:
‘With Vladimir Jurowski and a slimmed-down contingent from the London Philharmonic spinning a delicate musical web, eye and ear can scarcely keep up with the pace’
Michael Church, The Independent
‘Vladimir Jurowski and his trimmed down London Philharmonic Orchestra work wonders with Strauss’ luminescent scoring, always maintaining that very telling balance between intimacy and grandiosity.’
Edward Seckerson, The Arts Desk
‘The mellow glow of the LPO under Vladimir Jurowski’s sensitive baton complements the vision perfectly, while a fine cast enhances the pleasure.’
Barry Millington, Evening Standard
‘Orchestrally, it’s beautiful.’
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
‘Vladimir Jurowski’s sensitive conducting provided soothing joy throughout’
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph
‘Thirty-five of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s finest musicians did honour to Richard Strauss’s exquisite, lightly-textured score in a reading by Vladimir Jurowski that was sumptuous in its textures and lyrical in its beauty.’
Mark Valencia, Classical Source
‘Vladimir Jurowski coaxes lovely sounds from the chamber orchestra drawn from the LPO and the performance of Strauss’s miraculous score is the greatest strength of the evening.’
Simon Thomas, What’s On Stage
‘Departing music director Vladimir Jurowski draws delectable sounds from the London Philharmonic in the pit.’
George Hall, The Stage
‘And what about the music? In short, triumphant. Jurowski clearly loves the score and presided over a glowing, beautifully phrased, crystal clear account of some of Strauss’s loveliest music. With his typical thoroughness, Jurowski rethought his orchestral placing in the pit, grouping the woodwind at the front stage left, and what glorious oboe, clarinet and flute playing we heard as a result. Indeed, all the orchestral textures sounded clean and fresh, never overwhelming the singers but still producing astonishing intensity of sound at all the big moments.’
Mike Reynolds, Musical Criticism
‘Vladimir Jurowski was conducting his first fully-staged Strauss opera, and he coaxed eloquent playing from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, preserving the intimate quality of the work yet allowing for dramatic intensity where required. As the director remarked, “…there is probably no more fitting place for Ariadne auf Naxos than Glyndebourne…” and this first night was an auspicious beginning to Jurowski’s final season as Music Director.’
Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOMH
‘Vladimir Jurowski has a wonderful feel for Strauss’s sense of humour. The brasses of the London Philharmonic Orchestra blare just enough so we can hear the parody, the winds (especially the bassoons) wail like a bunch of mock tubas.’
Anne Ozorio, Opera Today
‘Vladimir Jurowski had the excellent LPO on a tight leash’
Mark Berry, Boulezian (blog)
‘Musically things are very good indeed. Conductor Vladimir Jurowski, in his final season as Glyndebourne’s musical director, shows once again why he will be so sorely missed … It’s a great achievement and just as the production made me see the drama anew, the conducting and playing made me hear the music anew.’
‘Vladimir Jurowski in the orchestra pit and Soile Isokoski as Ariadne fully brought out the magic of Richard Strauss’s music.’
Mark Ronan (blog)
You can watch the opera live on screen on 4 June 2013 in cinemas around the UK – visit the Glyndebourne website for more details.
Between now and the end of August, the Orchestra will also give performances of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with Jérémie Rhorer (a revival of the 2012 production); Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with Enrique Mazzola (a revival of the 2011 Tour production); and a revival of the 2010 production of Britten’s Billy Budd with Sir Andrew Davis. Visit the Glyndebourne website for more details.
On Wednesday 1 May at Royal Festival Hall, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Ryan Wigglesworth performed Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 4, and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the London Philharmonic Choir and soloists Claire Booth, Pamela Helen Stephen, Ben Johnson and Matthew Rose.
Here are the reviews of the concert:
‘Tippett’s great oratorio, in contrast, was done with tremendous subtlety. Moments of objectivity on Wigglesworth’s part, together with brief but notable pauses between sections, reminded us of the work’s structural roots in Bach, without detracting from the power of its harrowing analysis of totalitarian persecution. Orchestral textures were lean yet beautiful, while the London Philharmonic Choir sang with an accuracy that was breathtaking.’ (4 stars)
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
‘The conductor, Ryan Wigglesworth, charted this repeated journey [the Vaughan Williams] skilfully and obtained first-rate playing from the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a fine, warm bloom to the sound…The London Philharmonic Choir excelled itself in Tippett’s often testing choral writing.’ (4 stars)
Richard Fairman, Financial Times
‘This [second] movement had great clarity and you felt that the formal structures of RVW’s work were far more clearly apparent than in some performances. This wasn’t a comfortable performance though (in the best possible sense) and some moments in this movement were more astonishing than I have ever heard. The final flute solo was unutterably bleak … There was a feeling, in this performance, of Wigglesworth removing layers of accumulated paint from RVW’s symphony to reveal its true structure. It was a complete tour-de-force from the orchestra, who stunningly followed Wigglesworth’s speeds and need for impetus and controlled violence.’ (5 stars)
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill (blog)
‘The London Philharmonic Chorus [sic] were vivid and strong, whether they were sympathising or condemning. Their intricate weave showed that this work is ‘all about counterpoint’ too. But again, Wigglesworth and the performers turned this purely musical device into something richly expressive.’ (4 stars)
Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph (not online)
This concert was part of The Rest Is Noise festival of 20th-century music, which continues at Southbank Centre throughout 2013. The next LPO concert is on Friday 17 May, when Vladimir Jurowski conducts Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with soloist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6. Find out more.
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In May’s LPO Podcast Vladimir Jurowski introduces Shostakovich’s Symphony No 6.
On 17 May the LPO’s Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski conducts a programme of 1930s works written in the Soviet Union by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Stravinsky. In this podcast he introduces Shostakovich’s Symphony No 6, which he describes as ‘absurd music for an absurb time’. We also include Shostakovich’s letter to the Soviet General Assembly in 1948 in which he apologises for failing to write ‘sufficiently uplifting and nationalist music’.
The new release on the LPO Label is of Mahler Symphony No 1, including the original fifth movement ‘Blumine’, recorded in concert in December 2010 with LPO Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski. Listen to clips and find out more > LPO-0070 (£9.99 incl P&P)
Throughout 2013, the London Philharmonic Orchestra appears as the major orchestral partner in Southbank Centre’s year-long, multi-art-form festival The Rest Is Noise. The festival looks at the key works of the 20th century through a wide lens, taking in the political happenings, social movements, cultural climates and personal stories that gave rise to these inspiring and sometimes controversial pieces of music.
Listen to the podcast >
We’re on Twitter (@LPOrchestra) and Facebook (/londonphilharmonicorchestra)
On Saturday 27 April at Royal Festival Hall, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski performed Webern’s Variations Op. 30, Berg’s Suite from the opera Lulu with soprano Barbara Hannigan, Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, and Martinu’s Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani.
‘Intellectually and emotionally speaking this was a classic of its kind … the accomplishment of its execution was as exemplary as it was gripping … What an extraordinary concert.’
Edward Seckerson, The Arts Desk
‘[Martinu’s Double Concerto] showcased the versatile excellence of pianist Catherine Edwards, who deservedly got the biggest cheer of the evening. In London this charismatic musician is usually confined to the relatively Cinderella role of ‘orchestral pianist’. It’s time we heard Edwards for real, as a proper concerto soloist.’ (5 stars)
Michael Church, The Independent
‘The LPO was in powerfully unanimous and wonderfully articulate form … This [the Martinu] was a sensationally good performance of terror-charged music, bristling with incident, driven without inhibition, the first movement’s angular rhythms spat out with fury (Simon Carrington the judicious timpanist) and the impassioned slow movement (a cry of pain from all of the composer’s pores) only reposed by Catherine Edwards’s piano solos, and even they muse soulfully.
This was not only a must-be-there concert, but a challenging one for the LPO, music that demands unstinting and detailed preparation. The Bartók may have slightly drawn the short straw in this respect, but the evening was a triumph.’
Colin Anderson, Classical Source
‘There was much to admire: this was highly dramatic Webern … Pieter Schoeman’s violin solos were especially well judged, sweetly Romantic, even hyper-Romantic, just as Webern’s music demands.
There was just the right degree of lilt to [Hannigan’s Lulu] performance, as there was to that of the LPO. High notes hit the spot in every sense, and coloratura told dramatically as well as musically. One longed to see her in the entire role. Jurowski balanced his forces and shaped the musical argument well.’
Mark Berry, Boulezian (blog)
‘That the LPO could tackle such a testing programme on a couple of days’ rehearsal speaks volumes for the players’ concentration. There were rough edges in Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, but also an edge-of-seat excitement. And Martinu’s Double Concerto for String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani sounded by turns scary, eerie, whiplash-driven and doggedly resolute: a compelling document of what it was like to be alive and terrified in 1938.’ (4 stars)
Richard Morrison, The Times (subscriber access only)
‘Some of the concerts at The Rest is Noise contain well-loved and often-played pieces, but it is concerts like this one where the festival’s importance really lies. These four outstanding pieces of music are not heard as often as they should be (perhaps with the expection of the Bartók), but if all the performances are as impressive as the LPO’s, I would not be surprised to see this change.’
Renée Reitsma, Bachtrack.com
‘An exceptional concert, thoughtfully planned and delivered with tremendous accuracy and intensity.’ (5 stars)
Andrew Clements, The Guardian
This concert was part of The Rest Is Noise festival of 20th-century music, which continues at Southbank Centre throughout 2013. The next LPO concert is this Wednesday, 1 May, when Ryan Wigglesworth conducts Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 4 and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the London Philharmonic Choir. Find out more.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Foyle Future Firsts annual development programme helps to bridge the transition period between college and the professional platform for up to 16 outstanding young musicians. The programme is designed to nurture and develop talented orchestral players, and to form the base for future appointments to the London Philharmonic Orchestra and other world-class orchestras and ensembles.
Foyle Future First members are given the opportunity to:
Rehearse – play alongside professionals in London Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsals throughout the year
Study – have lessons with London Philharmonic Orchestra Principals
Support – receive advice and mentoring from their LPO Principal
Audition – improve their audition skills and etiquette throughout the year, culminating in mock auditions in front of a panel of LPO Principals
Observe – view London Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsals from the gallery or auditorium
Educate – participate in Education & Community projects alongside London Philharmonic Orchestra players
Perform – play a range of concerts as part of the wider London Philharmonic Orchestra programme at Royal Festival Hall. Perform side-by-side with London Philharmonic Orchestra members in Debut Sounds at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall at the end of the year, a highlight of the calendar that fuses exciting contemporary repertoire with new works from the LPO’s Leverhulme Young Composers
Hear – discounted or free tickets for all London Philharmonic Orchestra concerts at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall
Applications are now open for the 2013/14 season.
The Foyle Future Firsts Programme is designed for musicians with undergraduate or postgraduate performance degrees. Individuals should not apply if they are still undertaking an undergraduate degree in September 2013, but may apply if they are studying for a postgraduate degree in the 2013/14 academic year. All participants must have the right to work as a performer in the UK next year (with the relevant visas where appropriate).
We accept one player per orchestral instrument (2 violins).
Apply online here. The deadline to complete the online application is 23:59 on Monday 27 May 2013.
The Foyle Future Firsts Programme is generously funded by The Foyle Foundation.
Our latest recording on the LPO Label is released next Monday, 29 April. Pre-order now for despatch this Friday, 26 April.
Vladimir Jurowski conducts
Mahler’s Symphony No. 1
(including original ‘Blumine’ movement)
Recorded live in concert at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London on 4 December 2010.
Read more, listen to soundclips and buy now
Mahler’s First Symphony: the opening chapter of his spiritual autobiography. And the music itself seems to awaken – emerging from hushed strings and woodwind cuckoos into its stride, marching forth, stamping towards an eerie realisation of a nursery rhyme and arriving at a final, blazing affirmation of confidence. Vladimir Jurowski conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra in this live 2010 concert performance including the Symphony’s original second movement, ‘Blumine’.
Reviews from the performance:
‘Jurowski made the first movement magnificent, generating a tremendous dramatic radiance.’
Paul Driver, The Times, 12 Dec 2010
‘This poised and delicate account showed Blumine’s freshness and charm as part of an overall reading with an absolute identification with the material, demonstrating Jurowski’s flair for Mahler.’
George Hall, The Guardian, 6 Dec 2010
All LPO Label recordings available from www.lpo.org.uk/shop, the London Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office (020 7840 4242, Monday–Friday 10am–5pm), all good CD outlets, and the Royal Festival Hall shop.
Downloads available from iTunes, Amazon, eMusic and classicsonline.com.
Sign up for LPO Label updates: www.lpo.org.uk/shop
We’re delighted to be able to share a recent concert conducted by Hans Graf as part of our Listen Again series of online concerts.
In 1935 Carl Orff encountered a vivid set of poems charting the outlandish pursuits of hedonistic students and monks, the medieval ‘golliards’. The texts, by the golliards themselves, captivated the composer. They found a home in the ritualistic, Stravinsky-influenced style Orff had been honing: full of motoric patterns, driving energy, percussive sprinklings and distinct orchestral colours, much of which can be traced directly to Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. But alongside its imposing shapes and furious rhythms, Carmina Burana has haunting tenderness and biting humour, too. This concert presents a rare opportunity to hear it alongside its most fertile and inspiring influence.
The concert is part of the year-long Southbank Centre festival The Rest Is Noise, which explores 20th century history and art through concerts, films and debates.
Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms
Orff Carmina Burana
Hans Graf conductor
Sarah Tynan soprano
Andrew Kennedy tenor
Rodion Pogossov baritone
London Philharmonic Choir
Trinity Boys Choir
This concert is online until Sunday 28 April.
Listen online >
Concert recorded 6 April 2013 at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall
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