About me and “earth”

Dear patrons,

I have made a new social media video about the fact that I often use the word “earth” in text settings.

I don’t think I have a strategy for using this word, but it’s become somewhat symbolic for me since I wrote my orchestral piece Earth in 2010. Ever since then, when I’m looking at texts to set, the word jumps out at me and I somehow feel it helps things to ‘fit’ during the process of composition. However, I don’t always give it more respect than the other words – it depends on the context. So in a piece like Earth thy cold is keen, it’s very important and I really do a lot with it. Perhaps this is because it’s being addressed directly. But in a piece like Earth ever green the ways, it is only one of many special nature-words, and is, moreover, used along with several ‘kennings’ or poetically synonymous expressions of the same meaning (e.g. ‘ever green’, ‘the ways’, ‘the loamy field’ and ‘the grower’).

In the video I also talk about the concert based on my album Earth, thy cold is keen we’ll be giving in King’s Place, London on 12th April. The concert starts at 8pm and contains an embarrassing number of world premieres, as we haven’t actually played most of this music in public yet! I’ll be contributing in a simple way, by playing the harmonium part on a sampler in some of the pieces, but the main attractions will be the wonderful mezzo Lotte Betts-Dean and Sequoia duo. It would be lovely to see you there if you can make it!

There is also a lunchtime concert at St John’s Smith Square on 4th April which will include my piece Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, the first movement of my Sonata for Guitar “Macbeth”. Sasha Savaloni, who commissioned the piece, will be playing it in a Shakespeare-themed programme. Sadly I can’t be there, but strongly recommend it if you are free: Sasha is an amazing young guitarist and the other pieces in the programme are superb.

Those are my next public events – in the meantime, preparations are now underway for Salzburger Landetheater’s new production of Anthropocene, conducted by Leslie Suganandarajah and directed by Agnessa Nefjodov. I’m having to make a few adjustments to the scoring to make it work for a smaller pit, and slightly fewer string players than planned, but I’m very impressed so far with the commitment of the company to staging the work. I will also be giving a public talk at the Austrian Cultural Forum in London on 23rd April, which will feature performances of a couple of extracts of the opera.

Thanks so much for your ongoing support!

Best wishes,



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