UPDATE September 2020: Unfortunately, due to coronavirus, the final concert in Orford has had to be postponed until 2021. The CD recording will also take place next year.
I plan to make a recording in a medieval church, in order to produce a CD in time for the completion of my church project. It will also provide a lasting celebration of my musical tour of Suffolk’s churches.
In March and April, I ran a successful Crowdfunding campaign to turn this idea into reality. The funding is only part of the story: my Suffolk church project has been a hugely sociable, joyful experience, bringing such a strong sense of community, and I wanted this recording to reflect these same wonderful qualities of my last three years of music-making in Suffolk’s churches.
During my project I have taken photos of every church, written about every church, and, obviously, played the cello in every church. I have often been asked, ‘do you record yourself in every church?’, or ‘have you got any CDs?’ The answer has always been ‘No’. I only have the odd snippet of audio or video, taken by me on a pocket-sized sound recorder when I was curious to hear the church’s acoustic, such as this one from Chattisham church.
I can’t change the fact I haven’t recorded myself in every church – it would have been too impractical anyway – but I have decided it is time to turn the answer to the question about CDs into a YES!
- make a recording of solo cello music in a medieval Suffolk church;
- commission a new piece of solo cello music, to be included on the CD and premiered at the final concert in Orford; and
- produce CDs for sale mostly at concerts in Suffolk churches. A donation from each sale will go to the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust to support their work in helping to maintain these special buildings.
The music on the CD will be:
Bach cello suite no. 4 in E flat major;
Bach cello suite no. 5 in C minor, and
A commissioned set of variations on a Walton theme (Tema per variazioni) by Benjamin Ellin.
I have chosen these two Bach suites partly because they are lesser known than the first three. But more importantly, I have chosen no. 4 because E flat major is my favourite key; and no. 5 because, with the top string of the cello tuned down by a tone from A to G, the feel of the music becomes ancient, and seems to be at one with the atmosphere of the church. If I had to choose just one piece of cello music to pair with a medieval church, this would be it.
I’m over the moon that this campaign was successful – more than successful! So no only are the recording and commission costs fully covered, but all of the expenses for the final concert in Orford church will also be covered, meaning more of the ticket proceeds can go to Orford church and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust.
Please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/suffolk-church-recording to read all about it and see the latest updates. Below you can find all the music and videos that were created as part of this campaign, with grateful thanks to my lockdown companion and bassoonist extraordinaire Joost Bosdijk!
(not sure if it was a maths issue or just wishful thinking but we’ve known each other for 24 years not 14!!)