'DIVERSIONS' WITH BERLIN KAMMERORCHESTER, Benedict Kloeckner (solo cello), Jordi Bernacer (conductor), Berlin Kammerorchester, Konzerthaus Berlin 20.00
The Konzerthaus programme began with Igor Stravinsky's Concerto in D for strings and continued with Haydn's cello concerto, also in D. After the interval the first performance of 'Diversions for solo cello and string orchestra' was played by Benedict Kloeckner and conducted by Jordi Bernacer. The audience gave it a boisterous and lengthy ovation which culminated in an encore for which the two cellists in the orchestra joined Benedict in Howard's 3-cello piece 'Archangel's Lullaby'. The programme ended with a fine reading of Haydn's 'Farewell' symphony.
Howard Blake originally wrote 'Diversions' as a work for cello and piano in 1973, but in 1984 he was introduced to the great cellist Maurice Gendron who persuaded him to revise it into a concerto for cello and orchestra. Howard worked with him, first in his home in Grez-sur-Loing and later at the Ravel Festival in St. Jean de Luz, adding a new cadenza and finale. He completed the full orchestration in February 1985. Gendron had hoped to premiere it for the BBC at the Brighton Festival but was unable to do so due to ill-health from which he eventually died. In 1989 a premiere of the work was given by Steven Isserlis and the Royal Philharmonic conducted by Sir Charles Groves. In 1991 the work was recorded by Robert Cohen for Sony with the composer conducting The Philharmonia. The Strad commented: 'The dearth of repertoire for the solo cello should encourage more composers to write for the instrument. 'Diversions' is a welcome newcomer which could become an old friend. The eight movements all have an individual character, made more convincing by economic scoring in which each theme or effect is clearly defined. It is a bright, colourful, tuneful piece with tremendous rhythmic drive.' The form is a suite in eight sections: Prelude, Scherzo, March, Waltz, Aria, Serenade, Sarabande and Cadenza, Finale. In 2010 cellist and mentor Martin Rummel introduced the piano/cello version of the piece to Benedict Kloeckner as an interesting work with which to enter the EBU Young Musicians Prize. Generally players choose two or three contrasted works for such a competition, but since 'Diversions' contained such contrast within the eight movements he decided to perform the entire work and won first prize. Since then he has played it frequently with various pianists, including Howard Blake himself with whom he played it at the International Cello Festival in Kronberg. In July 2013 they are scheduled to record it for SWDR. Just over two years ago the composer heard Benedict and the Berlin Kammerorchester give a superb performance of the Schumann concerto in a new strings-only arrangement and it was this performance that inspired him to rework 'Diversions' for similar forces.
MORRICONE YOUTH ON EAST VILLAGE RADIO NY, Devon Goldberg interviews Howard Blake live in a 2-hour programme about his film scores to be broadcast from Greenwich Village,New York City, USA, eastvillageradio.com Sunday 5th May 2013 19.30 GMT (London time)
A phone interview to promote Howard Blake's recent 'S.O.S. Titanic' release on Silva Screen and previewing his birthday Illustrated Film Music Lecture in Dusseldorf on October 3rd. Devon Goldberg has hosted a weekly film soundtrack radio show called MORRICONE YOUTH on EAST VILLAGE RADIO (eastvillageradio.com
) in New York City for the past six years, live every Sunday afternoon 2-4p ET. Past guests have included Lalo Schifrin, Sven Libaek, Danny Elfman, Paul Williams, Carter Burwell, Eliott Goldenthal, Cliff Martinez, John Lurie, Evan Lurie, Jim Thirlwell, Alan Howarth, Bear McCreary, etc.
British Composer Howard Blake Guests on Morricone Youth, Sunday at 2pm ET
Fri, 03 May 2013 11:47:04
On Morricone Youth this Sunday at 2pm ET, host Devon E. Levins welcomes renowned British composer, pianist and conductor Howard Blake to discuss and listen to his storied film and television soundtrack career which has spanned nearly 50 years producing more than 650 works. Silva Screen Records has released, for the first time, Mr. Blake's original TV soundtrack to arguably the most intelligent and authentic version of the Titanic tragedy, S.O.S. Titanic.
Premiered by ABC on September 23rd 1979, S.O.S Titanic ran for three hours and was the costliest television film ever made. A huge star cast included David Janssen, Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, David Warner, Harry Andrews and Cloris Leachman. The brilliantly researched script by James Costigan was based on a first-hand account by passenger/survivor Lawrence Beesley. US-based producer Roger Gimbel wanted an English composer and had been impressed by Howard Blake’s score to Ridley Scott’s The Duellists (1977). Apart from the composition of a serious symphonic score there was also the intention to create a tapestry of historically correct music such as that which would have been heard on the ship. An innovation in the story-telling portrayed the differences between 1st, 2nd and 3rd class passengers and this was also to be reflected in the music - with, for instance, Irish music from the 3rd, songs with piano from the 2nd and a sophisticated orchestra in the 1st.
Howard Blake is one of the most popular and prolific living English composers, perhaps best known for his timeless TV score for the animated British film The Snowman (1982). An instant classic, the song Walking in the Air was perfectly captured by then boy soprano Aled Jones. The song has been covered by hundreds of artists as diverse as Tangerine Dream and Rainbow to Placido Domingo and George Winston. Mr. Blake’s successes also include scores he wrote for the original British television series The Avengers (1968-1969), An Elephant Called Slowly (1969), Flash Gordon (1980) and A Month in the Country (1987). He increasingly has been recognized for his classical works including concertos, oratorios, ballets, operas and instrumental pieces. As Princess Diana’s favorite composer, she commissioned Howard Blake to write a piano concerto for her 30th Birthday. He was bestowed the O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) for services to music by the Queen in 1994 and is a Fellow and Visiting Professor of Composition at The Royal Academy of Music.
For more information, visit the composer's website.
'IF' IN THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, Howard's setting of the great Kipling poem 'IF' is to be performed by massed choirs of Thomas's Day Schools, organ and orchestra
EVGENIA STARTSEVA PIANO RECITAL, Piano recital: Beethoven,Medtner,Schumann,Prokofiev,Chopin and Blake, St.James's Theatre Studio, 12 Palace Street, London SW1 4.00 pm
Three Blake pieces to be played by the Russian pianist Evgenia Startseva - notable for her performances partnering Maxim Vengerov.
SIR NEVILLE MARRINER CONDUCTS THE WOODWIND CONCERTOS, Sir Neville Marriner,conductor,The Orchestra of the Academy of St.Martin in the Fields,soloists: Gustavo Nunez, Jaime Martin and Andrew Marriner. Wind Octet for soloists within the orchestra.
Premiere recordings took place September 24-26 2012 of some of Howard's works for woodwind with the Orchestra of The Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields. Clarinet Concerto perf. by Andrew Marriner with revisions previously unincorporated; Bassoon Concerto perf. by Gustavo Nunez (principal Concertgebouw Amsterdam); Flute Concerto perf. by Jaime Martin; Serenade for Wind Octet perf. by soloists from the orchestra. Conductor Sir Neville Marriner. Music producer Andrew Keener, location sound engineering Erdo Groot and Roger de Schot from Polyhymnia, supervising producer Job Maarse for Pentatone. Editing Baarn Netherlands December 2012, release scheduled for May/June 2013
ASHKENAZY RECORDINGS OF PIANO WORKS, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vovka Ashkenazy (for the two-piano works), Potton Hall Studios, UK
Howard attended a magnificent performance of 'La Mer' given at the Royal Festival Hall on 11th December 2011 with Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting The Philharmonia in an all French orchestral programme. Meeting after the concert the Maestro confirmed his desire to record an album of Howard's piano music and this is scheduled between March and June 2013. The repertoire will include two works for two pianos in which he will be joined by his son Vovka and a selection of solo pieces to be performed by Vladimir himself. Release by Decca is anticipated.
BOSWIL FESTIVAL ZURICH, Benedict Kloeckner and Howard Blake play a programme of his works for cello and piano, Boswil festival, Zurich
PIANO QUARTET IN ENCINITAS, iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates
David Kaplan, piano /Davide de Askaniis, violin /Victor de Almeida, viola /Jacob Shaw, cello, Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive, CA, USA. 2.00pm
SUDWESTDEUTSCHE RUNDFUNK, Kloeckner/Blake, SWDR recording studios
Recordings are scheduled for an album of Howard Blake's works for cello and piano to be released on Genuin
MAGDALENE - A MALAYSIAN PRODIGY, Magdalene, in Kuala Lumpur, Johore, Singapore
An extraordinarily talented young pianist visited Howard Blake in his Kensington studio with Ann Perreau and a delegation of piano teachers from Malaysia early in the year. Magdalene will be leaving Malaysia at the end of August to start at the UK Purcell School in September.and her supporters are preparing for 3 concerts called 'Magdalene and friends' to raise funds to enable her family to be with her for at least 3 years. They feel this would be necessary for her personal development as she is only nine! These concerts will feature Magdalene as a soloist, as well as her playing some two-piano works and duets. One of the concerts will be in Kuala Lumpur on the 27th of July at which she will play Howard Blake's virtuosic 'Haiku'.
HOWARD BLAKE FESTIVAL IN DUSSELDORF, As part of the festival and 75th birthday celebrations, Howard Blake introduces a programme of projected film excerpts featuring his film scores, Filmkunsttheater Metropol, Dusseldorf 7.30pm Die Filmmusik von Howard Blake
Vortrag von und mit Howard Blake in deutscher Sprache mit Filmausschnitten
STEINWAY HOUSE RECITAL, Kloeckner/Blake, Steinway House Dusseldorf
A concert of Howard's music for cello and piano with EBU prizewinner Benedict Kloeckner
'THE DUELLISTS' SYMPHONY IN BONN, Benedict Kloeckner solo cello 'Diversions for cello and string orchestra' and a first performance -'The Duellists -Symphony no. 3'. Koenigswinter orchestra Conducted by Tobias van de Locht, Zehntscheune des Klosters Heisterbach: Sinfoniekonzert including Mozart Sinfonie Nr.39. 11.00-13.00
An event as part of Howard Blake's 75th birthday Dusseldorf festival 11.00
PREMIERE IN MUNICH, Benedict Kloeckner cello and Danae Dorken piano, Gasteig (International chamber music concert hall, Munich
The recital will include Howard Blake's 'Diversions' for cello and piano and the first performance of 'Prelude for Benedict' for solo cello, created for the occasion by the composer who will be in attendance
CELLO AND PIANO RECITAL IN KENSINGTON, Benedict Kloeckner and Howard Blake, The Music Room, 45 Queen's Gate Terrace, Kensington, London
A programme of Howard Blake's music on his 75th birthday
SNOWMAN STAGE SHOW UK TOUR 2013/14, The Snowman stage show dance company, Peacock Theatre, Kingsway; Theatre Royal, Nottingham; Mayflower, Southampton; Birmingham Rep.
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre stage and produce the full-evening two-act ballet of 'The Snowman' in association with Sadler's Wells with whom they jointly present it, breaking records in London's West End by running for 15 consecutive Christmas seasons.'The Snowman' is choreographed by Robert North, directed by Bill Alexander, designed by Ruari Murchison with music and lyrics by Howard Blake.
BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Ken Lam, conductor Rheda Becker, narrator
COBLENZ FESTIVAL, To be announced