Venables plays Bach announced at Festival d’Automne à Paris
12 August 2021 - news
I will be making a brand new 42-speaker sound installation at the Church of Saint Eustache in Paris as part of this years Festival d’Automne à Paris. The installation, Venables plays Bach, explores my relationship with J.S. Bach’s Little Prelude in D minor, BWV 940. This Prelude was one of the earliest pieces I learnt to play on the piano when I was a teenager, and a piece that, over the last 25 years almost without exception, I have played as a warm up every time I sit down at the piano to compose. This installation is a kind of ‘composing diary’ recorded over about 50 days earlier this year, while I was writing numbers 96–100, also commissioned by the Festival d’Automne. These ‘diary entries’ form a kind of meta-composing-session, consisting of my improvisations, repetitions, explorations of the musical material for the new piece, growing out from and catalysed by the Bach Prelude.
In addition to the installation, I’ve made a 30-minute durational ‘unfolding’ of the Bach Prelude, to be performed live on the organ in Saint Eustache by Baptiste-Florian Marle-Ouvrard, on the evenings of 8th and 15th October. This is not really a new piece, so to speak, but more a live element of the installation: a conceptual performance based on a pitch-frequency analysis of the Bach Prelude and an exponential revealing of all 170 pitches in the Prelude over the course of 28 repetitions of it.
Venables plays Bach opens on 7th October at 2.30pm and is open every day until 16th October inclusive from 2.30pm–5pm. Entry is free. The organ performances are also free but require prior registration due to covid rules.
numbers 96–100 and numbers 81–85 have been commissioned by the Festival d’Automne à Paris, Music Festival Strasbourg and the ensemble Lovemusic, and will be premiered in these festivals on 1st (Strasbourg) and 26th October (Paris) by Lovemusic with mezzo-soprano Grace Durham.