Peter Sheppard Skaerved is to perform Nigel’s short unaccompanied violin work `Loulan’ at the British Museum on 23 September in one of four recitals. New sounds have always flooded across musical borders by means of trade and travel. The first bowed string instruments were brought to Europe from Asia in the century before the Renaissance. By the late 17th century, the violin had anchored itself into the musical practices of both secular and religious celebrations and observation, from feasting to prayer. But it must not be forgotten that the excitement about music is also centred on a particular fascination with the tools that are used to make music, both as historical objects, objects of inspiration, and objects of change. The violin is the ultimate example of this-an extraordinary piece of technology, capable of extraordinary flexibility, and almost limitless potential for ‘up grades’and alteration. Its function and meaning have been in more or less constant flux for nearly 500 years. P.S.S.
`Loulan´ is dedicated to Peter Sheppard Skærved, and he made the premiere recording on the Naxos label `Nigel Clarke´ (disc CD8.570429). `Loulan´ was inspired by my visit to the Silk Road City of Urumqi with the violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved in 2002. Urumqi is the regional capital of Xinjiang province in China and only about 150 miles from the Afghanistan border. The city is surrounded by the vast Gobi Desert, is a melting-pot of Middle Eastern and Far Eastern culture which is reflected in the music and dance of the region. `Loulan´ represents the sound-world that I experienced during this visit, fused with my own musical language.
`Loulan´ is based around a Chinese folk tune heard during our visit. In collaboration with Sheppard Skærved I have developed a number of original extended techniques on the violin which help give the work its ethnic feel.
Trade and Travel (23rd September)
Giuseppe Tartini Sonate Piccole (‘through the tempest’s horror)
Dafina Zaqiri Dream
Nigel Clarke Loulan/Voices in the Sand
Michael Hersch in the Snowy Margins
Mihailo Trandafilovski Colours/Limits*
Tom Myron Merian Etude*
Ian Wilson Cartographies
Shen Yi Tajik Dance
The Istrian composer Giuseppe Tartini straddled the east and west. Best known as an Italian composer, he was born in modern day Slovenia; his music never lost the flavour of the Balkan meeting point. Living composers from the Balkans, Xinjiang, UK and US, face up to questions of travel and alienation.
More information for this event to follow shortly.