Miloš Karadaglić has been particularly active in expanding the guitar concerto repertoire with some outstanding commissions in recent years, including Ink Dark Moon by Joby Talbot and The Forest by Howard Shore. This week, on Friday 13 January 2023, he will be premièring the guitar concerto The Peacock Pavane by David Bruce, performing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Karen Kamensek at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Tickets.
There will be another performance of the concert at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne on Sunday 15 January 2023. Tickets. In both concerts, Miloš Karadaglić will also be performing the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo.
David Bruce, writes about his guitar concerto, The Peacock Pavane:
The pavane is a slow stately dance, common in Europe since the Renaissance. There is some suggestion that the Spanish word pavón – meaning peacock – is the origin of the dance’s name, but peacocks also have many different symbolic meanings: they can be seen as a symbol of beauty, self-expression, royalty, luck, or new life (some see them as the earthly incarnation of the mythical phoenix). With its spectacular tail-feathers full of eyes, the peacock is also a symbol of watchfulness and patience.
I like to think of The Peacock Pavane as a kind of ‘dance from afar’. It was written at the height of the Covid pandemic amidst a time of watchfulness, patience and stoicism. I think the piece is mainly about waiting. It doesn’t really go anywhere. Time continues, but it treads the same steps over and over.
During the pandemic, many of us spent weeks and months away from loved ones, longing for that moment when we’d finally be able to reunite. That feeling was heightened for me in September 2020 when my daughter – my eldest child – left home to start her studies. During the previous six months of lockdown, we had all spent a lot of time together as a family and I had enjoyed more than ever the time spent with her, going for walks and chatting about the future. Then suddenly she was off, peacock-like, to start a new life, and what was left behind was tender feelings of absence and longing.
David Bruce © 2022
David Bruce was born in Connecticut but grew up and studied in England; he completed a PhD in Composition at King’s College, London (1995–1999), supervised by Harrison Birtwistle. He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center, San Diego Symphony, where he was Associate Composer, for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble: Cut the Rug, and his operas have been commissioned by Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House.
David Bruce’s musical tastes are broad, including a strong connection with plucked strings. In 2013 he wrote Cymbeline for mandolin and string quartet, for mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital. Another ensemble work, called Death Is a Friend of Ours is for mandolin, harp, harpsichord, theorbo and guitar. After performing this work with his regular ensemble partner, the mandolinist Avi Avital, Lukasz Kuropaczewski was inspired to commission a solo work for classical guitar from David Bruce. This new work, Hands Together, will be premièred by Lukasz Kuropaczewski at the Koblenz International Guitar Festival in May 2023. Lukasz is also excited to hear news of The Peacock Pavane, and commented: ‘I am very grateful to Milos for commissioning a concerto and am happy that more and more guitarists will have a chance to play David’s music.’
On his recent recording, Miloš: The Moon and The Forest (Decca, 2021), Miloš Karadaglić recorded two of the new guitar concertos which he commissioned: Ink Dark Moon by Joby Talbot and The Forest by Howard Shore.* This superb recording also includes two arrangements of pieces for solo guitar, Full Moon by Ludovico Einaudi and Traumerai by Robert Schumann.
*On 12 May 2023, Miloš Karadaglić will be one of the performers at the Howard Shore Tribute concert at Maison de la Radio et de la Musique, Paris.
© Thérèse Wassily Saba 2023