John Woolrich has enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration with the Britten Sinfonia, both as composer and programmer. The ensemble has given premieres of twelve of his works (most recently Whitel’s Ey in 2009) and this November they celebrate his 60th birthday with concerts in London and Cambridge.
One highlight is sure to be the much-awaited London premiere of Woolrich’s dynamic yet warmly lyrical Violin Concerto, assured of a memorable performance by the ensemble’s own associate leader Thomas Gould. Conceived in a single 21-minute movement, the work was received to critical acclaim at its premiere at the 2008 Aldeburgh Festival. The concert also features Woolrich’s arrangements of songs by Purcell and Wolf together with his ever-popular reworking of Monteverdi Ulysses Awakes for solo viola (performed here by Britten Sinfonia’s Clare Finnimore) and strings.
Before the Britten Sinfonia's concert in London on 20 November, a study day organised by the Institute of Musical Research focuses on Woolrich’s compositional models: the operas of Monteverdi and the songs of Purcell, with papers on the music, poetry and visual art of the seventeenth century.
Speakers to include: John Woolrich, Julian Philips, Stephen Walsh, Anthony Pryer, Andrew Parrott,
Peter Holman and Bruce Wood, chaired by Sir Nicholas Kenyon.
More information about the Britten Sinfonia's concerts can be found here.
Full details of the study day can be found here.
Critical Reaction to the Violin Concerto:
‘It was the sense of a single instrument being allowed flights of imagination and lyrical soul-searching that emerged as the piece’s most compelling element.’
The Guardian (Rian Evans) 2 July 2008
‘It sustains a gripping power that is really rather mysterious.’
The Times (Paul Driver) 6 July 2008