The life-giving music of
1920 - 1998
~ celebrating the 100th anniversary of a treasured composer ~
Exclusive: read here my extended
biographical and musicological article
Suite Champêtre: selection
Natalia Williams-Wandoch, piano
along with music by
Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, Chopin, Brahms & Debussy
Saturday 6th November 2021, 11.30 am
St Peter's Church, March, Cambs.
Thursday 18th November 2021, 1.00 pm
Saturday 11th December 2021, 11.30am
Sonatina I: 2nd mvt
Matthew's Tunes (piano 4-hands)
At Christmas Tree Festival, St. Peter's Church, March, Cambridgeshire
Along with music by
Rhodri Williams-Wandoch, poetry, Christmas-tree artworks and refreshments
Spring 2022 (tbc)
An exploration of the two Sonatinas for piano (video/stream)
Date & details TBC
(Analysis / workshop / excerpts / comparisons to other works.)
-most are very inexpensive;
-duos & songs designed for enjoyment as chamber music;
-plus larger works in all genres.
This is a good and important message, and an introduction to this repertoire.
When it comes to Bush's style and 'key works,' I personally would not so much emphasise musical 'conservatism.' Bush's very diverse oeuvre actually reflects his appreciation of music from across the tonal-atonal spectrum, but the darker and more explorative pieces are indeed less likely to appear in a list of 'key works' like this. A striking example is the Sonatina Nr.2 for piano, entirely atonal and freely composed out of 8-note rows and interval-play, which I have performed in small recital context and would love to do so again along with the exquisite, quasi-tonal Sonatina Nr.1. They were originally written for Bush himself to play in radio broadcast. Also I really hope that The Equation (X=0) will finally receive a second UK production and a recording: it's a sinuous and quasi-tonal chamber opera in one act, four scenes, composed of continuous, contrapuntal semi-recitative, and is a very powerful anti-war parable adapted from John Drinkwater's 1917 play. Nevertheless, Bush strongly believed it is wrong to see stylistically familiar music as 'lesser,' if it does the things music ought to: open the heart and mind, cheer the spirit, give you ideas, and glorify God. He talked about that in an eccentric and wide-ranging interview (1991) which you can read here.
OTHER PAST EVENTS:
Simon Wallfisch & Edward Rushton exploring Greek Love Songs in conversation with Julie and Paul Bush
Video currently unavailable, but watch Wallfisch and Rushton's dramatic video of To Electra from 4 Songs from Herrick's 'Hesperides'
Four Songs from Herrick's Hesperides;
archy at the zoo;
Sonata for Violin and Piano
performed by Maki Sekiya, Chris Murphy and Oxford University Students and fellows
at Balliol College, Oxford
(A Great and Mighty Wonder)
A plentiful selection of some of Bush's most expert and extraordinary songs - dark, mystical, philosophical, and effervescent, joyful and jocular, along with playful songs by Bush's friend Joseph Horowitz:
TRIO FOR OBOE, PIANO AND BASSOON
2018 recording by the Iowa Ensemble on MSR Classics, within album Portraits In Music. A well-crafted chamber piece in 2 movements well worth programming, full of 'typical Bush fingerprints of wit, precision, shifting tonalities and syncopated rhythms,' 'a gorgeous tune,' and a 2nd movement 'full of sadness' with a melody that 'flows with an almost Bachian sense of poise and balance' (John France, review).
SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO
A gorgeous world-premiere recording of this intensely passionate sonata, by the Steinberg Duo (2017). A non-stop, rhapsodic, emotional rollercoaster, it is programmed in between the violin sonatas by Reizenstein and by Bush's mentor and friend, Ireland.
'SMALL PIECES FOR ORCHESTRA'
'A winning release' (Gramophone, 2015) - A beautiful album by the Northern Chamber Orchestra and Nicholas Ward. Contrary to the title, this features long works as well as short, profound ones: Sinfonietta Concertante for cello & orchestra (soloist Raphael Wallfisch), and the absolutely gorgeous Concerto for Light Orchestra, where 'light' definitely refers to the instrumentation rather than the emotional depth. It's a soulful, joyful and perfectly orchestrated suite. The shorter pieces include the quite popular and darkly mysterious Natus Est Immanuel for strings along with other beautiful string pieces and a very vibrant rendition of Bush's colourful suite of Matthew Locke arrangements, Psyche. The album closes with a very apt placing of Finale for a Concert, arguably the most brilliant orchestral piece of the lot.
'GEOFFREY BUSH SONGS'
by Simon Wallfisch and Edward Rushton
An expert and loving performance of a perfect set of song cycles (2010). Song was at the heart of Bush's music, a genre he always returned to between other commissions and projects. He had a unique genius for striking, expressive, integral and delicious song-writing, combined with an expertise acquired through a life of accompanying singers. Bush was also a choral scholar at Salisbury Cathedral School, for which he later wrote Missa Brevis Salisburyensis (no recording exists). Wallfisch has a personal connection to the Bush family, and this heartfelt, expert and perfect album began this pair's recording collaboration.