Next week is the premiere of Dream Weaver – a new piece of choreography by Cameron McMillan which I have contributed music for. The piece is a joint commission between Aldeburgh Music and the Royal Ballet Flanders. In fact I’ve only contributed half the music for the piece; the concept was to take sections of the Britten’s seminal solo guitar piece Nocturnal after John Dowland and add new sections of music for classical guitar and string orchestra. I have found this a pretty steep learning curve mainly because I’ve not written music for dance before so the working process for a new piece of dance was a compete mystery.
In the Britten centenary year I thought that a piece exactly 50 years old which references early music in the Dowland was an excellent starting point. There are moments in the new music which refer directly to the Britten and the Dowland, moments are are more elusively related and sections which are deliberately more/entirely separate. If the Britten is a set of variations moving towards the Dowland I think of the music I’ve written as a set of diversions that start with the Britten and Dowland then move into new territory.
One of the most exciting features of this commission is that the piece is going to be played by Tom McKinney; guitarist, birder, scenester & Radio 3 presenter. It’s going to be amazing to hear him play the new music as well as the Britten and I’m pleased to have been able to write a substantial piece for a big project with Tom.
I’ve seen films of the choreography as it has taken shape in the studio an it look ravishing. I’ve also been hearing about the design concept, costume and staging which all sound spectacular. I think it’s going to be a pretty humbling experience. If you want to go or read more about the project here are som relevant links.
Tom McKinney’s website
Cameron McMillan’s website
Britten Dances event on the Aldeburgh Music Britten Centenary website
The Royal Ballet Flanders Britten Dances page (English version)