Thursday, 22 January 2015

Launch Day programme: Steve Crowther in conversation with David Power

Steve Crowther: David, you have programmed a launch day for the 2015 Late Music concert series which will take place at the Unitarian church in St Saviourgate on Saturday 28th February 2015. What can we expect from this day?

David Power: The day will comprise two events. A lunchtime concert at 1pm by Sounds lyrical and an evening multi-media event at 7pm by the Vestiges group. Both events are free and there will be wine, juice and nibbles. The idea is that Late Music followers can come along to a relaxed environment, meet their friends at the start of the new season, have a drink – or two! - and hear and see a variety of interesting work.

Steve Crowther: What can we expect from the Sounds lyrical lunchtime concert?

Well, Sounds Lyrical is a group of local poets and composers that I formed a couple of years ago. They are myself, David Lancaster, Tim brooks and Peter Byrom-Smith (composers) and Alan Gillott, Rose Drew, Lizzi Linklater and Andy Humphrey (poets). The idea is that the poets and composers work together to create new songs and these songs are then performed in both concert settings and at poetry events. The poet reads their poem and then this is followed immediately by a performance of the composer’s setting of that poem. In this concert we will be presenting 5 Sounds lyrical pieces this way. We will also be playing songs by Britten, Schubert, Gershwin, Kurt Weill and Gerald Finzi so it will be a fascinating and varied lunchtime concert.

The performers are Josephine Peach (piano) and the excellent young baritone Ben Lindley. The concert is free and starts at the Unitarian Church in St Saviousgate at 1pm on Saturday 28th February.

For more about Sounds Lyrical, please visit

Steve Crowther: In the evening of the Launch Day, we have a multi media performance by Vestiges. What can we expect from that?

Vestiges is a combination of music, art and film. The music is a joint seven track pre-recorded composition by myself and David Lancaster. My contribution is eight short two track electronic pieces which are relatively dramatic in character and are played through speakers on the stage pointing out to the audience. They are punctuated by silences, sometimes of several minutes. David Lancaster’s piece is a five track work, more ambient in character and more continuous. We now have wireless speakers for David’s music so there are all sorts of new options as to where we can place these. The duration of this overall piece is variable but, in the Late Music launch day concert, we will play it for about 40 minutes.

The art will be by Linda Ingham. We are still working on the film as our usual film contributor – Annabel McCourt - isn’t available.

The Vestiges performance will be topped and tailed by piano music played by Edward Caine. These will be extracts of pieces that can be heard later in the 2015 Late Music Series so they form ‘tasters’ of what is to come, so to speak, and will include music by Schoenberg, Messiaen and Ligeti.

For more about Vestiges, please visit

Steve Crowther: How did Sounds Lyrical and Vestiges come into being.

I got the idea for Sounds Lyrical at a Late Music ‘song day’ a few years ago. I approached some composers and poets and told them my idea. After some discussion, we were up and running. Shortly afterwards, we did a guest spot at the Ryedale Book Festival to a markedly larger audience than we could have expected for a contemporary music concert and our work was very well received. We knew then that we were onto something and it went from there. Last year we got an Arts Council grant to do 4 concerts at the Basement at City Screen plus a one hour radio show on Leeds East FM. The next Basement concert, by the way, is on Thursday 5th March.

Vestiges came about through discussions between Annabel McCourt and myself. Annabel is a very gifted film maker whose work ranges from gritty social realist work with hard-to-reach people right through to art house work. I have supplied music for the soundtracks of a number of Annabel’s short films but we had never conceived a project together from scratch. For Vestiges, we wanted to do multi-media work in churches. We got a grant and undertook a short tour of northern English churches presented Vestiges. It went very well and, in total, just over 3,000 people came

Steve Crowther: What are the advantages for a composer of working collaboratively with artists in other art forms?

I have found that I really enjoy collaborative work. The different artists bring such different ideas and different perspectives. Sounds Lyrical and Vestiges have stimulated me to write some of my best music to date. I also find collaborative work attracts markedly larger audiences than I am used to when performed in contemporary music concerts and it is very gratifying to have my music appreciated by larger audiences who do not have a specific interest in contemporary classical music.