I am absolutely thrilled to have another go at performing a vocal work which is very close to my heart, Love Journeys, by talented friend and colleague, Jacques Cohen. The performance will take place on Thurs 17th May, 7.45pm, at Purcell Room, South Bank Centre. It is a beautiful, rich, varied work for solo soprano and string ensemble, with settings of James Joyce (selected poems from his ‘Chamber Music’). I will perform with the Cohen Ensemble and Jacques himself conducting. I have had the good fortune to sing many new works in my career, many of them, as this one, written for me, but this one really belongs in my top 5 list. It is gratifying to sing and listen to, it is written with innate understanding of the human voice, it is both beautiful, intense, light, dark…definitely worth listening to!Do come along if you are free. The piece follows the progress of a young love affair that begins in Spring amid the resplendent Irish countryside and ends in late Autumn out at sea.
There are several other stunning works in the programme: https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/122097-cohen-ensemble-transfigured-2018
One other particular work from the programme which deserves special mention is the premiere of ‘For Angel’, a piece written in tribute to the sorely missed David Angel, who was the leader of the second violins, last time I performed this work. I hadn’t seen David for many years before that concert, and was thrilled to be able to tell him how his words had made such an impact on me when I was young. As a violinist in the Brent Youth Symphony and in one sectional rehearsal I remember David (who was teaching us) being asked, ‘How long should we practise the violin for each day?’ ‘With the violin, or without the violin?’ was his response and his words have stayed with me forever more, as I realised thanks to him, so early on in my development, the power and efficiency of mental practice. ‘For Angel’ commemorates David Angel who passed away last year. Best known as the 2nd violin of the Maggini Quartet, David led the 2nd violins in the Cohen Ensemble for many years and made a huge impact on music-making in this country both as a performer and pedagogue. Based around his initials (DEA) this piece exploits these open strings of the violin whilst the absent principal 2nd violinist (whose chair remains empty throughout) is eventually heard off-stage.