Thursday, 21 June 2012

Judith Bingham at 60

Judith Bingham
Judith Bingham
To celebrate Judith Bingham's 60th birthday (which, incidentally is today), JAM have commissioned a piece from her which is being premiered by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the City of London Festival. It promises to be a fascinating combination of old and new.

The new piece, The Hythe, is inspired by Bingham's visits to the coastal town of Hythe and in fact the new piece is going to be played there. Bingham's theme for the piece is a sailor coming home from the sea, a way of linking the piece to the two places (London and Hythe) where the piece will be performed. (Incidentally, Bingham discovered that the word hythe is an old word for haven).

The new piece will be premiere by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under conductor Nicholas Cleobury on 4 July at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street as part of the City of London Festival. (The concert will be broadcast live on Radio 3) Judith Bingham will be giving a pre-concert talk at 6.45pm. Then two days later, on 6 July, the same group will repeat the concert in the town of Hythe itself. This latter performance is part of the Hythe Festival and JAM are returning to the festival on July 7 for a performance of Bingham's My Heart Strangely Warm'd which JAM commissioned from Bingham in 2006 and won a British Composer Award. Bingham became a JAM panel member in 2007.

The full programme for the 4 July and the 6 July concerts includes Handel's Organ Concerto no 15, BWV 304 played by Daniel Cook, and Cook will also be the soloist in Bingham's organ concerto, Jacob's Ladder. The programme is completed by Pergolesi's Stabat Mater with Claire Seaton and Andrew Radley. A lovely programme all told, but I'm fascinated to hear what Bingham comes up with when writing for period instruments with sparer textures and no vibrato.

JAM are taking The Hythe to Scotland in the autumn with performances with the Edinburgh Pro Musica Orchestra and the St. Andrews University Chamber Orchestra.

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