For this commission Bryars will use the inspiration of the Holderness/Spurn Head landscape, and at the same time the life and poetry of Andrew Marvell (1621-1678), the metaphysical poet who was born and raised in the Holderness region. When a young man of just 19, Marvell may have witnessed his father drowning as he tried to cross the Humber. This new commission takes two iterations; one a sound installation in the church at Winestead where Marvell’s father was the rector; and the second a live performance by an ensemble of musicians and countertenor.
Commissioned by Opera North.
About Gavin Bryars
Gavin Bryars studied philosophy at Sheffield University ,and became a professional jazz bassist and a pioneer of free improvisation working especially with Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley. In the late 1960s he worked with John Cage: this influenced early works such as the indeterminately scored The Sinking of the Titanic of 1969 and the 1971 work Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet. Gavin Bryars' work is widely recorded, and he has set up his own label GB Records. He is an Associate Research Fellow at Dartington College of Arts and Regent of the Collège de 'Pataphysique.
The performance of Winestead was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 1 July 2017 and is available as a download in Mp3 and FLAC 16 from 4 August 2017.