Nicola LeFanu’s 70th birthday celebrations continue on 16 May with the première of a new work for mezzo-soprano and ensemble performed by Charlotte Tetley and the Orchestra of St John’s Smith Square at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. May Rain, conducted and commissioned by Cayenna Ponchione as part of the Water-Culture: Women’s Work(s) song project which aims to raise awareness of global water scarcity, sets a text by Kerry Hardie which rejoices in the showers that bring her Irish garden to life.
It follows the February première of LeFanu’s large-scale piece for soprano and orchestra, The Crimson Bird, performed by soprano Rachel Nicholls and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by Ilan Volkov at the Barbican Centre and commissioned with the Royal Philharmonic Society Elgar Bursary, the ‘fiery new concertante’ (Guardian) features a specially written text by John Fuller and is a lament for a son caught up in conflict.
Rondel received its first performance at the beginning of April with the MAYO Wind Quintet. Written specifically with amateur ensembles in mind, each player has the chance for a solo and the melodic line of these soliloquies creates the ‘rondo’ aspect of the piece.
The Goldfield Ensemble marks LeFanu’s birthday in York with a concert of chamber music under the banner of Invisible Cities & Imaginary Places. Taking place on 10 May at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, the ensemble will also present music by Sadie Harrison, Salvatore Sciarrino, Robin Holloway, Tristan Murail and Elizabeth Maconchy.
Event page: goldfieldensemble.co.uk/event-directory
Nicola was BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week 24–28 April: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tnxf