You Need to Listen to Us
Jocelyn Pook composed a new original musical work for Prom number 49, featuring the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and performed by the Southbank Sinfonia. Pook's new piece sets words from speeaches by environmental activist Greta Thunberg to music. The concert celebrated the rich musical landscape of nature and is inspired by the bestselling book The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane which revives disappearing words describing the natural world.
Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices
Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices is a musical exploration of anxiety disorders, which are amongst the most common of mental health problems.
Pook took inspiration from conversations with people who suffer from anxiety, in all its many forms, and was particularly interested in the experience of living with anxiety on an everyday basis. This selection of new pieces includes first person descriptions of possible causes of anxiety, including the nervous energy of a singer waiting in the wings to go on stage, and some of its many possible effects – hyperventilation, a rush of adrenaline and indecision. They also address the circular nature of living with anxiety on a daily basis, and the busy mind of an insomniac lying awake at night.
Aurora Orchestra conducted by Graham Ross; soloists: Lore Lixenberg mezzo-soprano, Melanie Pappenheim mezzo-soprano, Jonathan Peter Kenny countertenor, George Ikediashibass, and the Mind and Soul Choir led by Lea Cornthwaite.
Jocelyn was commissioned by the Jewish Music Institute to create a new musical work. Drawing Life is inspired by poems and drawings from the book ‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly’, created by child inmates held in Terezin concentration camp by the Nazis. Jocelyn will work closely with dramaturge Emma Bernard to create a staged musical piece, an emotionally moving and educational addition to the creative canon of works reminding us of the destructive potential of man’s inhumanity to man.
The production will feature two vocal soloists – Melanie Pappenheim and Lorin Sklamberg (lead-singer of the Grammy-winning New York group The Klezmatics) – alongside Sophie Solomon (violin), Laura Moody (cello), Kate Shortt (cello), Susi Evans (clarinet) and Ian Watson (accordian). It will also use projected video, created by Serbian visual artist Dragan Aleksic, combining children’s drawings juxtaposed with survivor interviews, archive photographs and Nazi propaganda films made inside the camp.
Jocelyn Pook: “When asked to make a piece inspired by the poems and drawings of Terezin’s children, I accepted without hesitation. I had seen some of these works in the Jewish Museum in Prague several years ago, and it had a profound effect on me. What shines through in these works, and also in many survivors’ testimonies, is the capacity in people to find hope and beauty in the direst and bleakest of circumstances and the inventive, creative ways of doing this. I was also touched to read of countless individual acts of kindness and bravery from all sides. This piece will, I hope, be reflective without being devoid of light. It is about the human ability to find ways to nourish the spirit even in the harshest conditions. It is about the positive impact of creativity against all the odds.”
The first preview of Drawing Life took place at Jewish Book Week on 22 February 2014.
Kings Place, 90 York Way London, Greater London N1 9AG
Trees, Walls, Cities, with the Brodsky Quartet
Jocelyn Pook’s new work for the Brodsky Quartet and mezzo-soprano Loré Lixenberg was commissioned as part of the City of London Festival (23 June – 26 July 2013). The song-cycle is themed around places with walls, linking Derry~Londonderry, the City of London, Utrecht, Berlin, Vienna, Dubrovnik, Nicosia and Jerusalem in creative reconciliation. Overall, the piece aims to reflect the transcendence of and growth beyond such barriers that divide people.
Pook is among the eight composers who’ve contributed to the work, in partnership with local poets or using earlier texts. Pook’s libretto was specially written by Richard Thomas (well-known for writing Jerry Springer: The Opera and Anna Nicole). A theme running through the texts is trees – symbolic of life, freedom, environment, building and peace. The songs were brought together in an interlocking suite of musical material, composed by Nigel Osborne, creating a coherent journey between the styles and characters of the songs and cities.
Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
Jocelyn was one of eleven of Britain’s renowned film composers commissioned to write music for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in honour of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
Jocelyn created a new movement using Handel’s Water Music for inspiration. The suite of music was performed for the first time on 3 June 2012 by an ensemble of live musicians on musical barges carrying choirs and orchestras, part of a pageant of 670 military, commercial and pleasure boats on the river Thames.