“Angel In The Forest” – Concert Information for Press/Media
Information for Press/Media
Composer Julian Marshall together with The Alyth Centre for Jewish Music present a very special event to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January), to be held at The North Western Reform Synagogue, Alyth Gardens, London NW11 7EN on Sunday 26th January 2014 at 7.30pm.
“The Angel in The Forest” is a Dramatic Song Cycle featuring music by Julian Marshall and text by Gertrud Kolmar, using an English translation by Philip Kuhn and Ruth von Zimmerman.
“The Angel In The Forest” features tenor James Gilchrist, cellist Sophie Harris, together with The School House 6 Ensemble conducted by Ian Belton (of the Brodsky Quartet).
- The afternoon of the concert will see The Alyth Centre hosting a number of workshops led by Julian Marshall and Philip Kuhn.
- The evening will also contain a recital by cellist Sophie Harris of her own works, marking the release of her debut solo recording on CD.
Further background Information
Gertrud Chodziesner was born on 10 December 1894 into a Jewish family in Berlin. After training as a teacher she worked with orphaned and disadvantaged children until an ill-fated love affair with a non-Jewish army officer resulted in an abortion and subsequent suicide attempt. After the Armistice (1918) she found work as a private tutor and governess until the autumn of 1927 when she attended a vacation course at Dijon University. But her time in France was curtailed when she was obliged to return home to nurse her mother. Following her mother’s death (March 1930) Gertrud assumed full-time responsibilities for the family household in Finkenkrug an “idyllic” rural suburb of Berlin.
While living in Finkenkrug Gertrud (under the pen-name Kolmar) composed nearly all her important works: not just the novel Die Jüdische Mutter (The Jewish Mother 1930), the drama Cécile Renault (1935), the historical study on Robespierre (Das Bildnis Robespierres 1934) and the dramatic legend Nacht (Night, 1938), but also her 8 cycles of poetry: – the 19 sonnet (plus one) Bild der Rose (Image of the Rose c.1932), the 19 poem cycle Napoleon und Marie, the 45 poem cycle Robespierre, the 53 poem cycle Alte Stadwappen, (Old Municipal Coats of Arms), the 75 poem cycle Weibliches Bildnis (Female Portraits), the 29 poem cycle Mutter und Kind (Mother & Child), the 48 poem cycle Tiertraüme (Animal Dreams) and finally Welten (Worlds), the 17 poem cycle which she wrote between 17 August and 30 December 1937. Although she would subsequently write the extraordinary novella Susanna (1940), Welten was to be the last collection of poetry that she wrote.
In July 1941 Gertrud was conscripted to a weapons’ factory. Just over a year later her father was deported to Theresienstadt and finally, in late February 1943, Gertrud herself was arrested and deported to Auschwitz where, had she managed to survive the nightmare journey east, she would have been “selected”, on arrival, for immediate “extermination”.
The Angel in the Forest
“The Angel in the Forest”, which is taken from Welten, serves as the text for Julian’s second Kolmar Cantata and offers a disturbing if understated glimpse into the nightmare world about to engulf Europe. As with “Out of the Darkness” (Julian’s first Kolmar Cantata), “The Angel in the Forest” suggests that a new life can be found in an escape from the City. But refuge is to be discovered not in the mountains but in the countryside which holds the promise of an innocent, perhaps even prelapsarian world, with its “musing fields” flowers and grass: a place where the animals “don’t speak evil”. And yet at the heart of this poem, is something perhaps even more disturbing than Out of the Darkness because the early promise of hope bound up with the protagonists’ ability to escape, is slowly eroded at every turn.
This is Julian Marshall’s second passionate engagement with another significant fragment from Kolmar’s neglected and often forgotten writings. As in his first cantata, Julian has again paid tribute to the poet’s remarkable and powerful feminine creativity and in so doing succeeds in commemorating Kolmar’s life so cruelly silenced at the very moment she seemed to be about to peer into and articulate its very depth.
Julian has composed music all his life – and now, more than ever, taking a centre-stage role in his creative life. Following education at Dartington Hall School and The Royal College of Music, he became known internationally as co-creator (with Kit Hain) of the 70’s group Marshall Hain – known especially for their massively successful international hit “Dancing in the City” in the late 70’s. He was also a member of The Flying Lizards – who scored a top 5 hit with “Money” in 1979. In the 80’s he formed the group Eye to Eye with American songwriter and performer Deborah Berg – recording two classic albums for Warner Brothers produced by Steely Dan producer Gary Katz and a latter day third album produced by Roxy Music producer Rhett Davies.
During the 80’s and 90’s, Julian produced records (the low point being a Royal Wedding record called Fergie, the high point co-producing early demos with Marc Cohn), played as a session musician on both sides of the Atlantic, was an A&R man for Boulevard Records in LA, a Senior A&R man for Polydor Records in the UK and composed.
Since the early 90’s, Julian has run his own highly successful teaching practice and has taught and lectured at Dartington College of Arts, Plymouth University, Dartington International Summer School of Music and elsewhere. He currently lectures at Middlesex University.
In July 2010 he launched (and is creative director of) London Song Company – an organisation for songwriters offering a broad range of trainings and opportunities across a wide stylistic brief. For more information visit www.londonsongcompany.com
Composing credits include, (as well as the many songs for above named bands), the score for Orion pictures film Old Enough (directed by Marissa Silver); The Clock of the Long Now (with text by poet Rose Cook) for Plymouth Symphony Orchestra and several combined school choirs; the score for the short film Still Life (directed by Emma George), the cantata “Out of the Darkness” (written for soprano soloist Melanie Pappenheim), score for the play Shakespeare’s’ Will (Clwyd Theatre, March 2010). “The Angel in the Forest” (written for tenor soloist James Gilchrist – premiered Totnes, Devon November 2010, London premiere of completed version January 2012).
Julian has numerous new works in the pipeline.
James Gilchrist began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time career in music in 1996.
Recent highlights include St Matthew Passion (Rotterdam Philharmonic), and Die Jahreszeiten (Royal Flemish Phil), Britten Les Illuminations at Aldeburgh festival, La Finta Giardiniera (AAM), and Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (Amsterdam Sinfonietta), Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, Mozart’s Requiem in Moscow and St Petersburg, a tour of Handel’s Theodora with Concert Spirituel, Jeptha at the Buxton Festival, Haydn’s Creation in Salzburg, a European tour of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Monteverdi Choir and Britten’s Church Parables, with Mahogany Opera in St Petersburg, Tokyo, London and at the Aldeburgh and Buxton Festivals.
James’ operatic roles include Quint in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte, Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love (Barbican/Radio 3), and Purcell’s King Arthur for Mark Morris at English National Opera.
A prolific recitalist, James enjoys successful relationships with accompanists Anna Tilbrook, Julius Drake and the harpist Alison Nicholls. His many critically acclaimed recordings include Die Schöne Mullerin, Schwanengesang and Winterreise for Orchid, On Wenlock Edge for Linn, Intimations of Immortality for Naxos, title role Albert Herring and Vaughan William’s A Poisoned Kiss for Chandos, Leighton Earth, Sweet Earth and Britten’s Winter Words (Linn).
Engagements for 2013/14 include Britten recitals in Teatro Principal de Santiago de Compostela, Spain and St John’s Smith Square London, B Minor Mass in Dresden and Saarbrucken with Le Concert Lorrain, Britten Nocturne with NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, performances of Handel Jephtha in Bath Abbey, the Barbican Centre and St Augustine’s, Kilburn with The Sixteen, Britten War Requiem with San Francisco Symphony, Schumann Das Paradies und die Peri and Haydn Die Schöpfung at the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Mozart Requiem with Orquesta de Barcelona. James will also sing St Matthew Passion at the Concertgebouw with the AAM and with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, a series of performances of Handel l’Allegro with the Mark Morris Dance Group in Teatro Real Madrid, and a return to Wigmore Hall to perform Schumann Schwanengesang and Beethoven An die Ferne Geliebte.
Sophie Harris graduated from Chethams School Of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music, where she won numerous prizes. Moving to London, she spent five years with the award-winning Smith Quartet, following her passion for contemporary music. Since then her work has diversified both as a soloist and with ensembles, performing, recording, and commissioning new cello works with a range of composers and musicians including Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman, Kevin Volans, Django Bates, Graham Fitkin, Egberto Gismonte, Melody Gardot and jazz luminary Sam Rivers. She has collaborated extensively with composer Jocelyn Pook on soundtracks for film, most notably Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, and with Gavin Bryars on a specially commissioned score for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Sophie plays a wide repertoire in her extensive performances, CD recordings and radio broadcasts with many of Britain’s leading chamber ensembles – including the Brodsky Quartet, Hilliard Ensemble, Ensemble Moderne and Lontano. Sophie is the cellist in the Duke Quartet. Her cello was made by Daniel Parker in 1730.
Ian Belton is a violinist – and one of the founding members – of the Brodsky Quartet. Since its formation in 1972, the Brodsky Quartet has performed over 3000 concerts on the major stages of the world and has released more than 60 recordings. A natural curiosity and an insatiable desire to explore has propelled the group in a number of artistic directions and continues to ensure them not only a prominent presence on the international chamber music scene, but also a rich and varied musical existence. Their energy and craftsmanship has attracted numerous awards and accolades worldwide, while ongoing educational work provides a vehicle for passing on experience and staying in touch with the next generation.
The Schoolhouse 6 Ensemble is a collective of musicians brought together by Julian Marshall specifically to record and perform “Out of the Darkness” and future works written by him.
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