From the YSP press release dated 30 April 2003
Rhythm of the Stones.
The life of Barbara Hepworth celebrated in music at Yorkshire Sculpture Park Saturday June 14th 2003
To coincide with its major Barbara Hepworth Centenary Exhibition, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) has appointed Nigel Morgan as Composer in Residence. Music formed a strong part of Hepworth’s creative life and YSP acknowledges this with a unique and innovative project entitled Rhythm of the Stones on Saturday 14th June. The dynamic event will bring together live music performance with digitally recorded sounds and images.
On 14 June, in collaboration with singer Philippa Reeves and keyboard player Robert Court, YSP will present the premiere of Stone and Flower. This is a large-scale song-cycle for mezzo-soprano and keyboard instruments lasting about 40 minutes. Stone and Flower is the title of a collection of poems by Kathleen Raine, illustrated by Hepworth in 1942.
The programme includes music composed by Barbara Hepworth’s friend, Priaulx Rainier, whose centenary YSP also celebrates. Along with Rainier’s South African songs Dance of the Rain and Ubunzima and works for keyboard (including the original version of To Barbara) YSP will host the premiere performance of an only recently discovered work. Conceived in Hepworth’s Trewyn studio, this extraordinary score is a formal notation of the carving rhythms employed by Hepworth and her two assistants. Its title Rhythm of the Stones also perfectly lends itself as the name of YSP’s unique music and visual art event.
Priaulx Rainier’s Rhythm of the Stones will be completed and realised by Nigel Morgan as a piece for percussion ensemble in a collaboration between YSP Artists in Residence, the WMDC Music Service and pupils from City High School in Wakefield.
Thirty pupils from City High School, Wakefield will create their own instruments for this performance, learn techniques of percussion ensemble playing and devise their own digital compositions based on sampling the sounds of carving on stone and wood. In addition to their live performance on 14th June, the students will also prepare a recorded version as part of an installation displaying and documenting this unique education project.
Nigel Morgan has also created a new instrumental
work titled Music for Sculptures – a sequence of pieces titled after Hepworth’s
sculptures. Scored for a quartet of musicians from the BBC National Orchestra
of Wales this new work includes Contrapuntal Form for quartet (flute, tenor
sax, double bass and keyboard), Quiet Form for trio (alto flute, double
bass and keyboard), Ascending Form and Conversations with Magic Stones for
solo tenor sax and double bass respectively.
In addition, Nigel Morgan has also set to music poems by Simon Armitage from his book Travelling Songs, together with Making a Name (for voice and electric piano), a poem commissioned especially for the opening of the YSP Centre on 14 June 2002. The Travelling Songs (scored for mezzo soprano, piccolo, alto sax and bass) will be performed at various locations at YSP during the afternoon.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park will use this exciting day to link music, text and sound with visual art, and explore the potential of indoor and outdoor spaces as platforms for live performance. The display of digitally recorded sound and images after the event will be used to maintain a lasting relationship between digital technology with the visual arts. Supported by The Worshipful Company of Musicians, The Priaulx Rainier Fund and The Britten-Pears Foundation.