In our final stop on the tour of last Winter’s In the House project, which saw student composers and performers from the Royal Academy of Music collaborate on brand-new site specific works, we reach 10 Folgate Street. The building has had a colourful history of inhabitants and the compact upstairs sitting room, along with the unusual nature of the In the House performance, was inspiration for Adam Dickson’s Focusing on Intimacy performed by flautist Jonathan Slade.
In the House take intimate solo performances in the ancient drawing rooms of Spitalfields residents.
Enjoy listening to the track below along with Adam’s programme notes about the work.
‘This piece for solo flute is influenced by the idea of voyeurism. As you tour around this house, you are entering and enjoying a stranger’s home. Looking around, curiosity builds and you wonder why a single object features in one room and, perhaps, not another. This unfamiliar object becomes the main focus of your attention. You become drawn to its existence. Its inanimate quality allows you to take hold of this object, to possess it. Those other surrounding objects, which were more familiar, fade into the background. What was once irrational and, perhaps, distasteful, is now beautiful and natural.’
One of the things that Spitalfields Music has been really fortunate to have over the years is the continued support of a large number of our neighbours. Of course, this is inherent in the story of how the festival began, but it has also been shown in many different ways through the festivals, perhaps no more directly than through our series of In the House concerts. If you’ve ever attended one of these events, you will understand the delight at being warmly invited into the early Georgian Huguenot silk weavers’ houses that line Fournier, Wilkes, Princelet, Folgate and Elder Streets, to be entertained with intimate solo instrumental performances while your eyes wander around the beautiful surroundings and take it all in. Each house is unique, each house is loved, each house has a fascinating story to tell. We have worked with students from the Royal Academy of Music for a number of years now, inviting composers to write new works especially for these drawing rooms and for performers to put together programmes in response to the old and the new that you will find there.
A Hidden Gem - East London Dance & RAM (credit Alys Tomlinson)
We thought we’d share a treat with you: a recording of Simon Eastwood’s piece Horror Vacui which was written in response to 13 Elder Street – a house with walls lined with all sorts of art work and treasures from around the globe – performed in December by the supremely talented accordionist Martynas Levickis. Simon writes of the piece:
‘Horror Vacui refers to the notion that nature abhors a vacuum, and that an empty space will always try to fill itself with gas or liquid. This principle was widely accepted by physicists for a long time until it was disproved in the seventeenth century. The term literally means ‘fear of empty space’ and in visual art has come to be associated with works which are completely filled in with detail. In writing this work I was interested in creating a musical space which compulsively wants to fill itself as if the music were being sucked out from the accordion by a vacuum.’ Hope you enjoy…
You may have noticed that In the House doesn’t feature in our Festival this June, but do not fear – we have a different site specific and exploratory musical treat lined up for you in the form of Hidden Gems. Working with East London Dance, we have commissioned composers and choreographers to work together to create new pieces of dance and music in response to various sites across Spitalfields. Yesterday got the project off to a tentative yet exciting start as the composers and choreographers met for the first time and visited the chosen sites. The Hidden Gems will be performed during our Midsummer Street Party on Saturday 23 June and will be free to seek out. It’s going to be a very interesting coming together of contrasting artists, styles and interpretations, and promises to be something very unique to Spitalfields!
Programme Manager: Festivals
We’ll be posting a few more recordings of the In the House commissions over the coming weeks so keep an eye on the blog.
And for those of you who need more of an accordion fix, we quite enjoyed this.
Posted in Festival, Local Area & Community
Tagged accordion, E1, East London Dance, Edler Street, Ellie Folkes, folgate street, Fournier Street, hidden gems, horror vacui, Huguenot, In the House, martynas levickis, Midsummer Street Party, Princelet Stret, Royal ac, silk weavers, Simon Eastwood, spitalfields, Summer Festival 2012, Wilkes Street, winter festival 2011
In this Staff Pick post, Ellie Folkes, our Festivals Programme Manager shares with us how she unwinds after work.
My favourite place to head to for a good night out after work is just around the corner to Folgate Street.(Undiscovered Spitalfields at Dennis Sever’s House, Summer Festival 2011)
In a couple of weeks I will be treating my mum to a visit to Dennis Severs’ House and I can’t wait. At any time of year it’s such a special place to visit, transporting you back through the centuries through sight, sound and smell, but it is particularly magical at Christmas time when the house is decorated with festive splendour – evergreens and the smell of pine needles fill the house as you explore the candlelit home of the Huguenot Jervis family. Once you’ve left the house and stepped back into the 21st century, pop across the road to the Water Poet pub – they serve delicious pub grub (including a mouth-watering Christmas menu) AND they even have an underground cinema, which screens anything from cult Korean horror to A Muppet Christmas Carol…. The perfect night out in these cold, foggy wintery months!
Programme Manager: Festivals
Image credit: James Berry mrnovemberphotography.co.uk