Concerto for Guitar & Violin première – William Lovelady

William Lovelady © Thérèse Wassily Saba

WILLIAM LOVELADY has eclectic tastes in music and his compositions often reflect this. Over the years he has written for and collaborated with musicians as diverse as Julian Lloyd-Weber, Art Garfunkel, Ravi Shankar and Hugh Masekela. He was commissioned to write a piece for the 75th birthday celebration of the Duke of Edinburgh; William Lovelady has written a lot of film and television music as well. The film, Here Lies, for which he wrote the music, won the Best European Independent Film 2015 award.

On Friday 12 June 2015, the guitarist Craig Ogden and the violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen premièred William Lovelady’s South American Suite, for Guitar and Violin and string orchestra with the Orchestra of the Swan, conducted by David Curtis at the Stratford Arts House in Stratford-upon-Avon. The three-movement double concerto, South American Suite, was commissioned by the Orchestra of the Swan was written in homage to Astor Piazzolla.

UPDATE: A video recording of the first performance has now been released on YouTube:

William Lovelady writes: ‘A large proportion of the music composed in South America is based upon a harmonic progression of 5ths, commonly known as a circle of 5ths. The origin of this system probably has its roots in the Baroque era: Vivaldi, Bach and Handel are three obvious examples. Vivaldi in particular used this device. During the classical era and the nineteenth century it virtually disappeared only to re-emerge in the twentieth century in popular music, i.e., the French chanson, tango, samba and jazz. The perfect example of this form is the song Autumn Leaves.
South American Suite is an episodic musical journey reflecting the music of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. The first section is mainly in a minor key. When major chords do occur I have used the Lydian mode (F to F on the piano using only white notes or using augmented 4ths). The second movement (choral) is neo-baroque in style and, after solo guitar and violin mini-cadenzas, moves into a slow tango that ends on a typical tango-type chord (using minor 6ths, 9ths, major minor 7ths and a diminished 5th). Part 3 starts with a Joropo (a traditional social dance and musical style of the Llanos plains region of Eastern Colombia and Western Venezuela) and mutates into typical Piazzolla with descending chromatic base lines. The ending is a mirror image of the opening.’

William Lovelady has written a number of guitar works for Slava and Leonard Grigoryan (Incantations Nos 4, 5 & 6 and The Sounds of Rain on Slava’s Another Night in London CD; Nartuby River on Slava and Len’s Distance CD), Craig Ogden, This Morning in Omagh the Sun Rose Again for solo guitar for the memorial of the Omagh bomb which was premièred by Amanda Cook and Dreams of a Russian Summer written for Tatyana Ryzhkova and Aubade for Xuefei Yang.

© Thérèse Wassily Saba 2015

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