Thursday, 26 July 2012

The darkest Pie Jesu

I’ve just returned from the East End where the London Requiem was officially launched at 6pm. The event took place at Rich Mix, and started with various speeches, before the first two films we’ve made for the Space project were played. They came across incredibly well, and readers of this blog can see the first one online @ If we’re not on the front page, just search for The London Requiem. After the second film, Ian sang the Pie Jesu to a backing track that PK had masterfully put together. It was a tall order for Ian; the second film in the series is so astonishingly emotional, that he was in pieces as he walked up to the stage, and had to take a few moments to compose himself. He sang brilliantly, however – full of raw emotion - and the audience responded accordingly. I thought, as I watched, what an incredibly dark Pie Jesu it is. This movement is traditionally the sickly sweet one sung by a chorister, but mine is like a James Bond theme! I wanted it to be about the gruelling circles of life... I've tried to make it the symphonic equivalent of a Beckett play!

Julie took to the stage after Ian, and sang In Paradisum, again, wonderfully. It was very interesting to see the movements being performed in front of an audience. The English gravestone quotes genuinely seem to come alive; they jump out of the Latin text like salmon migrating up stream!

Everyone present stuck around afterwards, which is always a good sign. Lots of people came up to me, including the head of classical music at the BBC, who complimented me on my presenting skills, which was a nice – if not a slightly left-field – thing to hear.

There were lots of friendly faces in the audience; quite a number of the choir, some of the requiem’s backers, my brother and his posse, and Philippa, glowing like a bright star in her radiantly pregnant body!

After the do, a group of us went to Spitalfields and ate at the Gourmet Burger Company. Ruth from the choir has just got engaged and Jem has just passed his British Citizen’s test, so it was skinny fries and celebration all ‘round.

350 years ago, and Pepys was all aflutter with gossip from Charles II’s court, which was moving to Whitehall from Hampton Court Palace for the winter. As usual, he was most concerned with the business of Lady Castlemayne, lover of the King, whose husband had recently upped sticks and installed himself in a monastery in France! The new Queen of England, Catherine de Breganza, was obviously highly suspicious of the whole business and had started to strike Castlemayne off the list for official functions and parties. Oh what a tangled web we weave...

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