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  • David Lancaster

Strata in Brno.

Without a doubt, the highlight of June 2015 was my trip to the Czech Republic, where Strata was being recorded by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Mikel Toms, on the morning of Friday 26th. The recording took place i the orchestra's permanent home Besedni dum (pictured above) which has been a concert hall for some 150 years and was for a time the workplace of composer Leos Janacek. Producing the recording was Douglas Knehans, director of the Ablaze Record label. It was clear that Mikel, Douglas and the orchestra had a fine understanding of the music and an almost uncanny sense of my intentions, and the music came together very quickly. It was a pleasure to work with them and I hope that our paths may cross again in future. I must confess it was very exciting to hear 'Strata' brought to life once again. The CD - Orchestral Masters Vol. 3 - will be released in November/December and I can't wait to hear the final edit! I brought back many happy memories of the short time I spent in Brno; it is an elegent and cultured city with a baroque cathedral and fine castle. It is also the home of many fine bars and cafes...

Earlier in June: another highlight, when I was reunited with violinist Peter Sheppard-Skaerved at an event for composers held at the National Centre for Early Music in York under the auspices of the Contemporary Music Research Centre. Following a highly instructive workshop in the afternoon I was delighted when Peter chose to include my solo for unaccompanied violin 'Rough Cut' in his evening programme - brilliantly played, of course. Peter is keen to work with me further to develop the piece in the coming months, and he is forming plans to perform and record it - all in all a wonderful collaboration between composer and performer. 'Rough Cut' reworks some of the musical ideas from 'Strike', in particular the obsessive opening gesture, but whereas 'Strike' developed to form complex montages and carefully managed transitions 'Rough Cut' is less cautious, bluntly juxtoposing its sections without any softening of the joins, but drawing some (hopefully) interesting connections to form links and connections across contrasting sections of the music.

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