Poetry – Limited Edition CDs

Mainly Two has just received some beautiful limited edition physical copies of ‘Poetry’. Get in touch to order your copy, or visit us at Bandcamp. Featuring new works from Charles Mauleverer, Enzo Bellomo, Lucy Claire, Steven Ebel, Toby Nelms and Michael Oliva. Magical design from Anna Lawrence.

Mainly Two - Poetry

 

Synergy

Part 2 of Mainly Two‘s sophomore release went out yesterday. It features the more contemporary works of the first Mainly Two repertoire. Stream/download below and enjoy some far-out sounds from some brilliant minds, performed by myself and Marie Schreer. Huge thanks once again to all involved in the project, to name but a few: all the composers (you are wonderful musicians and people to work with); genius recording engineer Josh Green; Michael Goodson for his stunning design.

Poetry

After over one year of hard work on innumerable people’s behalf, my violin duo Mainly Two has released its first studio recording, Poetry. There are too many people to mention who have had some involvement in this project, but a major thank you goes out to all the composers for their beautiful music and their patient collaboration; to Anna Lawrence for her magical artwork; to the selfless Josh Green for his unceasingly generous hard work in getting these studio recordings sounding as crystalline as possible; and to my wonderful duo partner Marie Schreer for making our work together such a joy. You can listen to the album right here, right now! Follow the links in the player to download (or preferably purchase) your very own copy. Physical copies will be available in the coming months. Poetry features music of a vaguely neo-romantic nature, and is sure to caress your ears, whether you be driving, chilling or heading off to sleep!

 

The follow-up LP, Synergy, will be released in just five day’s time. It features the more contemporary of the compositions, for those of you interested in new sounds and ideas. Keep your eyes peeled!

Meanwhile, I’ve been active in other interesting areas recently. I’m delighted to be working with a talented bunch of artists on a collaborative project called ‘Spun Through Shadows’. It’s a fascinating convergence of music, electronics and dance, all tied together in an immersive performance. We’re giving our premiere on December 6th, and will be reprising several times in 2015. Check out the official website, and the video below, for more information.

My group Project Avartan has been invited to perform at the prestigious Sage Gateshead on December 18th. Having never played there before, I’m over the moon about it. It’s going to be a smashing gig with my talented colleagues Rekesh Chauhan and Alok Verma, so if you’re in the area, grab a ticket and head on over!

Project Avartan @ Gateshead

Recently, I happened to spot myself mentioned in Jazz UK magazine, which is one of the first official indications that I play jazz! It’s a small step for mankind, but a landmark leap for John Garner. See if you can spot me in this interview with radio DJ Tina Edwards.

Jazz UK Tina Edwards interview

I’ve been particularly busy in the studio recently with Emanata, The Future Ancients, The John Garner Quartet and MooK. There’ll be a plethora of new sounds heading your way within a short while. Here’s a shot from my recent recording session at Konk Studios with MooK. Début studio recording on its way!

Mook @ Konk Studios

Lastly, here’s a lovely video by Aesop that The Guastalla Quartet can be heard playing on. We recorded this recently for composer Josephine Stephenson. Enjoy!

The Guild of Artisans from Aesop on Vimeo.

Mainly Two début concert

Here’s some very exciting news (at least for me) fresh off the press. Marie Schreer and I have found a venue for the first concert of our contemporary duo project Mainly Two. Not just any venue either. We’ll be taking over the Norfolk House Music Room in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, two Friday evenings on the trot. It’s a spectacular place to unleash upon the world this colourful new music for the first time. As well as premiering the new works by some top composers of the moment (over a dozen in total), we’ll be taking a brief stroll into the archives of the violin duo world, exploring some of the repertoire, giving a bit of context to this relatively unknown medium. All very exciting stuff!

Join us on May 2nd and 9th. More details can be found here.

Norfolk House Music Room

 

Sheep, glorious sheep

Although you may field that this baaahhlog entry ought to be solely on the subject of one fluffy farmyard critter, I’m afraid you are baaahing up the wrong tree.

Enough of dreadful puns and eggceptionally bad jokes (so what if sheep don’t lay eggs). Neighver again (so what if sheep aren’t horses) will I make you, devoted reader, work this hard to read my news. Dig out the mosquito oinkment, wiggle into those wellies, grab your crook, and cock-a-doodle-don’t dally whilst I transport you to the Isle of Coll to briefly recount my recent moosical adventures.

We, The Park Quartet, were invited to the aforementioned island to take part in the Tunnell Trust‘s yearly music festival, alongside wind quintet The Aquilon Ensemble, Catalan piano trio Hyagnis Trio, and piano/cello duo Y-Squared (a talented bunch and all delightful people). With a stunning view over the water, we rehearsed daily and received some smashing tutelage from the likes of Charles Tunnell, Richard Deakin, Jeremy Young and Neil Black. After one week of blood, sweat and tears (quite literally), we gave our first performances of quartets by Beethoven, Vasks and Haydn. Despite there being fewer than 300 people living on Coll, we saw at least fifty enthusiastic islanders at each of the three concerts, cheering us on.

Coll itself is an unusual place, less than twelve kilometres from one side to the other and with scarcely a tree to shelter you from the bitter winter wind which rears its ugly head in November, according to the locals. However, the sea views, rocky terrain and nature sanctuaries made for a peaceful, if not occasionally lonely, retreat. The swimming was invigorating (/numbing), the walks were humbling (/muddy), and the sheep were plentiful (/fertilising). Even if island fever occasionally set in, there was always a friendly face nearby waving good-morning and stopping for a chat (a real shocker at first, as those of you who live in London will understand).

So all in all, I recommend a visit to this alternative Eden, and a big thank you to the Tunnell Trust for having us. Click here to read the festival’s blog, with a cameo entry by the quartet.

Isle of Coll

Back to the other end of the British Isles where my jazz quartet has just released a short video promoting our first EP ‘Live at Trinity Studio’. You can watch it right here, right now:

And on a final note, I graduated last week from the Royal College of Music with a first class honours degree. Here’s to a great four years (although not without its up and downs) and to an exciting fresh start. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Malta and Dorset (not simultaneously) to swim, sunbathe and get better acquainted with Wagner and Verdi. Toodle-pip!

Park Quartet in Paris

Bonsoir mes amis! Je suis retourné de la France après un bon voyage avec mon quatuor à cordes.

If you have French friends, make sure they don’t judge me too harshly for the above sentence. After a long hiatus in news, I am back to recount some recent adventures and exciting online developments.

Firstly, the gypsy jazz Hot Club Ensemble, with which I play, has recently launched its website in all its pristine and just-out-of-the-box glory. Click here to take a look; pour yourself a glass of red wine and enjoy the ambience of 1930s Paris. . . . . . . . . .                     (and then head to the contact page and book us for your birthday party)

Another, slightly bigger, group with which I also play has just launched its website as well, and it looks very impressive indeed. There are some incredibly exciting performances planned for the coming year, including screenings of Amelie, Henry V and Nosferatu, accompanied live by the full orchestra. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for this group! Visit the Live Film Orchestra website here.

Lastly, my quartet and soprano Anna Rajah were delighted to be involved this week in a ProQuartet project in the beautiful city of Paris. Alongside the Gémeaux Quartet, we put on a concert of music by composers including Georg Tintner, Egon Wellesz and Kurt Weill at the Goethe Institute. Singing Songs in a Foreign Land is a research project focussing on music and emigration, with which the Royal College of Music has been involved. It was a great experience in such stunning surroundings, although not without its ups and downs! We owe a debt of gratitude to Heime Müller and Norbert Meyn for their inspiring and valuable input whilst discovering these fascinating works. Here are a few snaps from our trip:

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Different Trains

You can now watch my quartet’s performance of Steve Reich’s Different Trains on YouTube. This was recorded live at the Royal College of Music on February 19th 2013:

Lucy Claire Quartet @ BBC London

I never want to see 5:20 on a frosty Saturday morning in London again. Having said that, I had a smashing time playing live on BBC London with the Lucy Claire Quartet. We were performing a couple of Lucy’s beautiful pieces for string quartet and electronics. Lucy writes deeply heartful music and is certainly a name to look out for in the cinematic future. You can catch our performance and Lucy’s interview for one week on BBC iPlayer. Click here to hear the broadcast.

Lucy Claire Quartet

Lucy Claire Quartet

The Invisible World – a review

Click here to read another great review of my quartet’s (the Park Quartet) performance at the Southbank Centre on Monday.

By far the most successful performance of the evening was that of Lutosławski’s String Quartet given by the accomplished Park Quartet. Opening the blanched pages of outsize parts upon their stands like a collection of wings, the players set about conquering this highly original 20th-century masterpiece.

Collaboration with Klara Kjellen

I’ve recently been working with Swedish singer/songwriter Klara Kjellen who is well underway on her second album. We went into the studio yesterday to record a string quartet for a couple of her songs, which I’ve arranged. I was joined by the combined talents of Marie Schreer, Julian Fish and Phil Kelynack. Watch this space for the finished products!