Everyday Magic

Poet: Dr Julie Carter

This is an excerpt from the workshop at PRS on 10th March 2019.
Mezzo: Rachael Lloyd
Piano: Lana Bode

Julie and I met on BBC Radio Cumbria's 'The Arty Show' in late 2018 and I fell in love with her poetry there and then. I was later accepted onto the Wild Plum Songbook workshops, run by Wild Plum Arts, PRS for Music and Cheltenham Music Festival and asked to present an art song. I immediately thought of Julie and, with her permission, set 'Everyday Magic' from her latest publication, 'Is It Serious?'.

'Everyday Magic' was written whilst on maternity leave with my daughter, and working with the poem helped me deal with the ups and downs of feeding, post natal depression and juggling toddler and baby's needs together. I'm incredibly grateful to PRS for enabling me to take part in the Wild Plum Songbook workshops by encouraging me to bring my baby along!

songs for marvellous (2014-2018)

This is the world premiere of 'Songs for Marvellous', composed in memory of my son who was born far too early in 2014. The song cycle was envisaged as piece that could be performed either in full or just using excerpts, with varying instrumentation. Other pieces in the cycle include: 'Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep' and 'Then the Letting Go - Sibling'. It was a way to grieve, heal and keep our son in our lives.

9th October 2014
The first song of the cycle was written a month after Marvellous was born. It's wordless. I had no way of externalising how I was feeling and this song was a start.

Child and Mother/ A Te (poet Eugene Field)
Composed between 2017 and 2018, this song takes the mother away from her troubles, guided by her loving child.

Songs for my Children (poet Eugene Field)
Commissioned by Hull Contemporary Opera Collective
Dedicated to my Village, this song is a lullaby that is for all three of my children, and the final piece of the cycle. It began life as a 1st birthday song for Marvellous - the piano part is a reworking of 'Happy Birthday'. Marvellous was born in Italy, and there they sing: 'Tanti Auguri a Te' - Many wishes to you.

Poppy Shotts - Soprano
Stephanie Halsey - Harp
Ben Newton - Piano
at Hull Contemporary Opera Collective, 18th and 19th July 2014.
With thanks to Russell Plows of HUOC for commissioning the final song in the cycle.

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep (2014)

           Commissioned by Carvetii Trio                                            Premiered 7th December 2014, Lanercost Priory   Poet: Mary Elizabeth Frye (1932)

Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano

In the autumn of 2014, I lost both my unborn son, Marvellous, and my Nanny, Vita Pinto. This poem struck me initially as Marvellous was born in Italy and we had an awful experience trying and failing to bring him home. It then chimed with me again at my Nanny's funeral as we all stood around her grave singing our hearts out as we said goodbye. This piece is written with the utmost love.

A Domani, People. A Domani (2013)

Commissioned by Royal Philharmonic Society                          Premiered 1st November 2013, Barbican Hall, London  Guildhall Young Artists

Guitar, Flute, Viola & Cello

This piece broke a year’s worth of self-imposed, yet impenetrable, composers’ block and despite its origins being in anger and frustration, the end result is joyful and even playful at times. This piece is dedicated to my ‘Self’; to that person who is so easy to take for granted, yet sometimes you just need to be a little kinder to.

Lesser Trefoil (2012)

Commissioned by Clare Whistler                                                    Premiered on 30 June 2012, City of London Festival Performed by Hannah Watts

Solo piece for high voice & flute

Commissioned for the 'Where the Wildflowers Are' concert that explored wildflowers through poetry and music. Using the voice and flute from one performer, this piece explores the characteristics of Lesser Trefoil, a common lawn weed with pretty yellow flowers. 

Shunned Street (2011)

Commissioned by Leeds Lieder + Festival                                                                                 Mezzo Soprano & Piano   Poet: Joanne Brandon

Shunned Street was inspired by the legend of Pope Joan, a female pope who was only discovered not to be male when she gave birth whilst on procession. It is said that even today this street is shunned by the Pope's procession. It was absolutely fantastic to work with poet Jo Brandon.

I Remember. Like I'm the Only (2012)

Written as part of the Adopt a Composer scheme                Premiered on 13th October 2012 at the Musical Museum  Kew Wind Orchestra

Wind Band

I Remember. Like I’m the Only is inspired by the Row for Freedom team of five women who rowed across the Atlantic, breaking two world records whilst raising awareness of human trafficking.

I wanted to explore the idea of being in a situation that nobody else could ever experience; the insecurity, fear, loneliness, awe and countless other indescribable emotions that may be endured by an individual when venturing into the unknown, whether by choice or by force.

N.B. The piece starts very quietly

... and you know we'll be alright? (2011)

In Memoriam Pili Marchori                                                                                                                              For Orchestra

... and you know we’ll be alright? was written in 2011 during a period of both foreseen and unforeseen changes. A futile melody bumbles along and is enveloped and obliterated by the chord invading the orchestra and destroying everything in its wake.

… and you know we’ll be alright? is dedicated to those people whose lives have been affected by cancer and commemorates the incredible strength shown by both sufferers and their loved ones that this experience inevitably evokes.

N.B. The piece starts very quietly