UPDATE Due to medical issues, the CD recording will take place in 2022. Just as soon as I’m able!
In March and April 2020, I ran a successful Crowdfunding campaign to turn the idea of recording a CD in a Suffolk church 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 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 not only were the recording and commission costs fully covered (the commission has been written and will be premiered at the CD launch), but all of the expenses for the final concert in Orford church were also covered, meaning all of the ticket proceeds could 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!!)