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.
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.