Jay Capperauld has been commissioned by the BBC to compose a brand-new piece for this year’s BBC Proms 2020. Jay’s new work will be written for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and will be conducted by Thomas Dausgaard, with a reduced chamber orchestra line-up to adhere to the new social distancing guidelines. The new piece is called “Circadian Refrains (172 Days Until Dawn)” and takes direct inspiration from the recent global lockdown and the habitual daily routines that many developed during this extraordinary experience.
“The title ‘Circadian Refrains’ refers to the biological processes that naturally recur in a 24-hour period. These cyclic processes are governed by our internal circadian clock which reacts and adapts to sensory changes in our environment, such as the transition from night to day (or darkness to light). In this context, this piece has been written in direct response to the recent global lockdown implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to articulate the day-to-day experiences of lockdown in a musical setting. The notion of refrains is suggestive of the repetitive, restricted and constrained lifestyles adopted by many during this time, while also referencing the very literal musical refrains and ritualistic utterances in the piece itself. Despite this relentless daily process, the work’s subtitle ‘172 Days Until Dawn’ attempts to capture a more hopeful perspective as the piece slowly transitions (through its own circadian processes) from a place of darkness to a place of light by mapping 172 chords and bars which represent each day since my personal lockdown began until the very day of this work’s premiere. Therefore, Circadian Refrains attempts to portray an individual journey from stillness, inertia and darkness towards a reviving metaphorical dawn.
It is a real honour to have been commissioned to composed this new piece for the BBC Proms, especially given everything that has been happening recently, and I am hugely excited at the prospect of working with the BBC SSO and Thomas Dausgaard again. As we all adjust to new ways of life and the slow return to a new kind of normality, I am aware of just how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to work with such a phenomenal orchestra in such times. The commentary on lockdown is perhaps an inevitable artistic expression after events such as this, and I hope that this new work offers a cathartic and optimistic contemplation as we return to live concerts once more.”
Circadian Refrains will premiere as part of the BBC Proms 2020 on the 5th of September at Glasgow’s City Halls (without an audience) and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 & live-streamed to BBC iPlayer from 7.30pm, performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard.
It is a great pleasure to announce that Jay Capperauld has been commissioned to compose a brand-new Flute Concerto for flautist Katherine Bryan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as part of their 2020:21 Season. The new piece is titled ‘Our Gilded Veins’ and is inspired by the ancient Japanese art of gilding broken objects with a golden lacquer in order to not only repair the object but to highlight its previous damage in a special and positive way.
Jay says of the work:
“As an artistic tradition, if a plate is broken, instead of throwing that plate away it is glued together with gilded lacquer to emphasise and celebrate the break as part of the object's history. Essentially, as a human concept, this new piece is an honest reflection on damage, failure and scars with the intention of embracing the necessity of life’s negatives when attempting to forge a positive existential outcome.
The concept of cultivating a positive state of Mental Health is at the crux of this work’s aims. The concept of Kintsugi acts as a fitting metaphor for the human experience, which is an undeniable reflection of how we must interact with the external world as well as how we negotiate the various knocks that life throws our way. It is through this metaphor that ‘Our Gilded Veins’ attempts to explore and champion the message of positive mental health in a musical context, and the idea that broken objects ought to be celebrated and nurtured, not discarded.”
Our Gilded Veins will premiere as part of the RSNO’s Season Opening concert alongside Beethoven’s 9th Symphony ‘Ode to Joy’ on the 18th September 2020, 7.30pm at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, with a repeat performance on the 19th September 2020, 7.30pm at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Both concerts feature an pre-concert 'insight' conversations with Katherine Bryan and Jay Capperauld at 6.45pm.
18th September 2020, 7.30pm - Usher Hall, Edinburgh - insight conversation at 6.45pm
19th September 2020, 7.30pm - The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow - insight conversation at 6.45pm
The new project Afterlife is a cutting-edge new music and film project based around the fictional work ‘Sum’ by bestselling author David Eagleman. ‘Sum – 40 Tales from the Afterlives’ is a collection of vignettes exploring possibilities of post-death scenarios which alongside revealing unexpected and inventive possibilities for the afterlife, provide us with a lens through which to view our current lives with striking clarity.
The performance will consist of new compositions by Jay Capperauld while the music will be performed by two prizewinning graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Lewis Banks (Saxophone) and Marianna Abrahamyan (Piano), whose combined abilities as a musical duo have earned them debut recitals at top London venues such as The Purcell Room and St Martin in the Fields in 2019. The project also integrates a number of short films from Manchester-based director Paul Wright, whose recent film ‘Fissure’ has been subject to strong critical acclaim.
This trio of new music, short film and live performance will seamlessly merge in a gripping live performance of ‘Afterlife’ to create a beautiful, unsettling and vivid artistic response to David Eagleman’s bestselling work, which will have a truly broad appeal to book fanatics, contemporary music specialists and film lovers alike.
Jay says of the project:
“Inspired by David Eagleman’s short story cycle ‘Sum: Forty tales from the afterlives’, this work, entitled Afterlife, comprises of several pieces for Alto Saxophone and Piano, and is conceptualised around a number of speculative stories that Eagleman created that postulate a diverse range of scenarios in which humans might find themselves in the afterlife.
Therefore, Afterlife attempts to capture the qualities of a selection of Eagleman’s short stories in a musical context, while pondering their intended meanings and existential (or post-existential) implications.”
Afterlife premieres at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on the 27th September 2019 at 1pm.
This will be followed by a further performance at this year's Cumnock Tryst Festival 2019 on the 5th October at 4.30pm in the New Cumnock Town Hall.
Psappha Ensemble - Composing for Piano and Percussion Duo 2018/19
Jay Capperauld has been selected to take part in Psappha Ensemble ‘Composing For…’ scheme in which Jay will work closely with the ensemble in the creation of a new work for Piano and Percussion Duo. This Duo will comprise of the pianist Benjamin Powell and the percussionist (and Psappha Ensemble’s Artistic Director) Tim Willaims, who Jay will develop this new 5 minute work with over the coming 2018/19 Season.
Psappha Ensemble say: “We have been running our “Composing For…” talent development schemes since 2013, supporting the creation of new works for solo instruments and duos by emerging and early career composers by providing sustained, one-to-one contact with our expert musicians. The works created through our schemes are listed below. You can watch HD multicamera films and listen to audio by clicking the relevant icons.”
The scheme will culminate in a Filming and Recording day where the ensemble will produce a high-quality video performance of Jay’s new piece ‘Erratics’ for Piano and Percussion Duo.
Jay says of the new work:
“Erratics takes its inspiration from the masses of colossal rocking stones that can be found in various locations throughout the world, which are balanced in such a precarious way that they can be rocked back and forth by the application of force by a single person.This piece attempts to portray an abstract image of a vast rocking stone being pushed in various directions by two quasi-antagonistic characters, in the form of the Pianist and Percussionist, who instigate movement in the stone and agitate the musical material between them in order to influence the motion of this huge object. In this way, Erratics takes on a double-meaning in its title by acting in a capricious and unpredictable or “erratic” manner, which conveys the abnormal movements of these massive rocking stones.”
The video to Jay's new work Erratics can now be viewed via the link below.