Artsnight with Edmund de Waal

Artsnight with Edmund de Waal

This Friday's episode of Artsnight (11pm, BBC2, 20 November) is presented by Edmund de Waal, with whom I had the great pleasure of working on Psalm.  Before the premiere last week I was interviewed for the programme, relating my work to Edmund's practice, and white (of course), and Celan, and memory, and the wonderful Aurora Orchestra, who performed my piece.  I may have been cut from the final edit, but perhaps I'm still there. . . tune in and find out!

On White: 7 fragments after Edmund de Waal

On White: 7 fragments after Edmund de Waal

What is the sound of white?

Edmund de Waal, the ceramic artist whose eloquent porcelain installations are inextricably bound up with this colour, asks the question early in The White Road, but offers no answer.

I am no synaesthete; I am no more able to respond than de Waal.  In any case, the question is, strictly speaking, nonsensical.  But it is an intriguing proposition.  If we could hear the colour of milk and snow and clouds and sunlight, what music would it make?

Over strong coffee on a grey London morning in early January, Edmund asks me to do just that.

image credit: Fran Pickering

November Nocturnal

Music should be theatrical. No, scratch that: music is theatrical, and I'm always excited by concerts that exploit this.  Aurora Orchestra are a great example, and so are High Heels and Horse Hair, who have developed a programme of new music and old united by nocturnal themes, combined with lighting design by Kai Fischer. My Nocturne is featured, alongside a commission from Judith Weir, and music by Sally Beamish, Schnittke, Bach and Biber. I'm really looking forward to taking a trip back home to see it.

On White / Psalm

I've spent the past few months in a porcelain world, on the trail of Edmund de Waal's 'kind of pilgrimage', The White Road.  His art and writing, alongside his passion for the poetry of Paul Celan, formed the backdrop for my new piece, Psalm.  It's been commissioned for the Aurora Orchestra's On White festival, a fantastic series of concerts they're producing with de Waal, which also includes Zender's arrangement of Winterreise, a particular favourite of mine.