|Seven women composers take a bow|
at St Peter's Eaton Square.
Latest publications (two): 'The Shape of Trees' for SATB chorus, published by Stainer & Bell in their series, Choral Now, and The Moon and I, a set of four songs for medium voice and piano, published by Tŷ Cerdd.
The first performance of 'The Shape of Trees' took place in London on 27 February at St Peter's Eaton Square and was given by the BBC Singers, conductor Grace Rossiter. BBC Radio 3 commissioned Rhian to write the work for International Women's Day, 2020, for the project 'Seven Ages of Woman', which involved seven women composers (see photo). Rhian was the co-ordinator of the project as well as mentor to the younger composers involved. Rhian's work sets a poem by Anne Stevenson: it's a reflection on the fact that, in winter, when trees have shed their leaves, we can see their characteristic shapes more clearly. A metaphor for the 7th age! the R3 broadcast took place on IWD, 8 March, 2020, and is now archived at
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/GmqN04t5MmDBrSczFLLnWc/seven-ages-of-woman (starting at 22 mins into the recording).
Rhian's set of songs, The Moon and I, to poems by Tabitha Hayward and Anne Stevenson, to a commission from the Ludlow English Song Weekend (director, Iain Burnside), should have been premiered at Ludlow in the first week of April, but the festival has now been postponed until 2021. A sneak preview of the last of the set took place at a concert for the Festival on 3 February in London. The singer was Claire Barnett-Jones, who recently starred in Birtwistle's Mask of Orpheus at ENO, and the pianist, Gamal Khamis. Hopefully, also in the 2021 festival, Roderick Williams, baritone, who has sung several of Rhian's pieces previously, will sing Spring Diary (S&B, 2010), a set of five songs to poems by Anne Stevenson, in his rescheduled recital with Iain. The score of The Moon and I, in a digital version, is now published by Tŷ Cerdd; hard copy will be available in the near future (when life returns to normal!).
The Tailleferre Ensemble, a lovely group of wind players, played Rhian's Primavera for wind quintet in a concert to celebrate IWD on Monday, 9th March at the Conway Hall. It's a challenging work, and they were absolutely up to it. Sadly, Rhian was unable to attend.
Also on Radio 3 on International Women's Day, Clytemnestra was broadcast again. The CD
with Ruby Hughes, BBCNOW and Jac van Steen (BIS/Naxos Records), has had a most wonderful reception: it has received fabulous reviews with FIVE STARS in The Times and BBC Music Magazine, and brilliant write-ups/discussions in the Gramophone Magazine, Guardian/Observer, Telegraph, BBC Radio 3 Record Review (on two separate programmes, with Gillian Moore and Sara Mohr-Pietsch, respectively), In Tune, on Hong Kong's Radio 4, and online journals such as The Arts Fuse (Boston USA) and MusicWeb International, and a Gramophone podcast by James Jolly. The CD was issued on 4 January, 2020. Thank you Ruby! The CD contains the seven movements of Clytemnestra (text after Aeschylus) and works by Berg and Mahler.
The Guardian/Observer also included a very complimentary review of the CD, Song-Lied-Cân (Tŷ Cerdd Records) too: issued on 6 December 2019, it contains the 3 songs of The White Amaryllis (May Sarton), the 5 songs of The Flowing Sand (Samuel Beckett) and 'Yr Alarch / The Swan' (anon) as well as some beautiful lieder by Clara Schumann. The singers are Katharine Dain and Paul Carey Jones, the pianist, Jocelyn Freeman. All wonderful performances. Available on Spotify.