My new single ‘Steel Bridge’ is out today – the 18th October 2019. The track is intended to pay tribute to the workers who designed and built the Tyne Bridge more than ninety years ago.
The bridge has been an important landmark for me throughout my life. From visits to the quayside Sunday market as a kid more than forty years ago, through to taking part in the Great North Run half marathon last year and running over the bridge just as the Red Arrows flew in formation overhead. The structure connects people in more ways than one. The imposing, impressive single span, towers over the river, physically connecting Newcastle and Gateshead. Its also an iconic symbol of the north east. Every time I have been away from home, the sight of the green arch makes me feel proud to be a Geordie – which is another kind of connection and there is also something about landmarks like this that connect us with the past. The bridge was built between 1925 and 1928 and is a marvel of both architecture and engineering skill. It was the largest single span bridge in the UK and was built using shipbuilding techniques and uses more than 7000 tons of steel and it has more than three quarters of a million rivets.” Steve says “The piece ‘Steel Bridge’ was inspired by the urban rhythms of old industry. It is a moody, atmospheric and ultimately uplifting reflection on, and tribute to the workers who fearlessly and skilfully brought this immense feat of engineering to life. It is scored in a cinematic minimalist style featuring live piano, string quartet and electronics. Its also a reflection on the change that Tyneside has gone through with the move away from old industry and towards a more mixed economy.”
Follow me on Spotify to be in with a chance to win two tickets to my next solo piano performance which is on Friday 16th August (7.15pm) underground, in the dark, inside the Victoria Tunnel. The draw will take place on Monday 10th August 2019. If you don’t have a Spotify account leave your email address instead.
This is the 1905 Bechstein in my studio being put to work over the next few days. I am setting up for four mics. Firstly a Rode stereo pair placed inside the lid, close up to the strings for a detailed, clear and pure sound. And secondly two condenser mics in omni mode, a little way out from the instrument but in the firing line of the reflected sound from the lid, which on a grand piano acts in the same way as a speaker – projecting the sound out to the front. The second pair should capture a more rounded ‘room’ sound.
When I mix and master I will listen to the recordings from both sets of microphones and maybe blend the two together with a little reverb and eq.
I also have some stands set up for cameras to record video and stills from the sessions.
The piano tuner is coming in tomorrow and recording will begin in earnest shortly after. For now there is just a bit more practice to be done.
Hopefully you will be able to hear (and see) the results of this process soon.
A composition I put together about a year ago will be re-recorded and released as a single on Spotify,Apple Music, Deezer and all good online streaming and download services towards the end of June 2019.
‘Crescent Moon’ was inspired by the first movement of the Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor “Quasi una fantasia”, Op. 27, No. 2 – popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata.
It is one of the most popular piano pieces of all time and I always thought that it had a very special quality about it. I was inspired to use it as a jumping off point to create something new.
According to Wikipedia “the name “Moonlight Sonata” comes from remarks made by the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beethoven’s death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. Within ten years, the name “Moonlight Sonata” (“Mondscheinsonate” in German) was being used in German and English publications. Later in the nineteenth century, the sonata was universally known by that name. Many critics have objected to the subjective, romantic nature of the title “Moonlight”, which has at times been called “a misleading approach to a movement with almost the character of a funeral march” and “absurd”. Other critics have approved of the sobriquet, finding it evocative or in line with their own interpretation of the work.”
My version is kind of a rework/remix/tribute/re-imagining of the original.
Eric Morecambe would have probably said that its “…all the same notes…not necessarily in the same order.”
If you would like to be one of the first to hear it on release visit my spotify artist page here and click ‘follow’
Spotify will let you know once the track is released and you can listen to it immediately. I would love to hear what you think about it- do let me know.
Check out the new album released today. 18 solo piano pieces, over 73 minutes of music including live versions of two previously unreleased tracks plus remastered versions of the rest of the catalogue.
Firstly a huge thank you to all of you who came to the concerts in the Victoria Tunnel a couple of weeks ago. It was a very special evening made all the better by wonderful feedback from those in attendance. I really appreciate your support and kind words. If you didn’t manage to get there in April there is another opportunity to hear me play in this wonderful venue on Friday 3rd August. See the listings below for full details.
We don’t have a full Atmospherica concert for you in May but I will be opening my studio as part of the Late Shows and giving short ‘Pitch Black Piano’ recitals every 30 minutes beginning at 7.15pm on Friday 18th May. Entry is free and there are loads of other things to see and do within 36 Lime Street and elsewhere in the Ouseburn that night. See the Late Shows website at https://thelateshows.org.uk/ for the full programme.
The next full concert on Thursday 28th June will feature the Lancaster based pianist and composer Oliver Brouwer. His second album appropriately titled ‘LP2’ is set to be released on 1631 Recordings on 25th May. You can listen to some of his work at https://oliverbrouwer.bandcamp.com/
On Thursday 19th July we are excited to present to you Sebastian
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and Daniel Selke from Germany, also known as award-winning cello-piano duo CEEYS! The brothers from Potsdam will be making their UK debut at this show.
Their latest album will be released in May 2018 and is sure to receive excellent international press. The brothers have been featured on numerous album releases and soundtracks. Cellist Sebastian is also known for collaborating with Ólafur Arnalds, Viktor Arnason and Spitfire Audio. You can hear some of their work at http://www.ceeys.de/
Friday 3rd August at 7.15pm sees me back in the Victoria Tunnel in the Ouseburn for another intimate performance in (almost) complete darkness. If you would like to experience what it feels like to really listen then this concert is for you. I have always wanted to make it big on the underground music scene.
I performed a selection of my piano music to an enthusiastic audience at the launch of the Atmospherica concert series last Thursday lunchtime.
Just less than thirty people squeezed into the studio to listen and they seemed to enjoy themselves.
Here’s a little clip from the concert so you can see a bit of what went on.
If you would like to come to the next concert featuring the work of the amazing Mark Deeks please visit this web page to book your ticket. You can find out more about Mark and listen to some of his work at http://markdeeks.co.uk/
The latest addition to the studio is a 1905 Bechstein grand piano. I’m really excited about letting you hear this amazing instrument in the January ‘Atmospherica‘ concert series.
It has a lively, versatile sound with a crystal clear treble range and plenty of power in the bass notes. I’m going to be carefully positioning some microphones very soon so stay tuned to hear the results very soon.
It taken a little while to put these together using a program called ‘Sibelius’ that on the whole works really well but has taken a little bit of learning and experimentation to get good results. I’m very happy with the way the pieces look and also pleased with the look and feel of the final product – the printing, paper stock and cover images all work nicely together.
If you are thinking of playing these pieces I would estimate that the level of difficulty is roughly equivalent to ABRSM Grade 5 or 6.
The book containing all four pieces from the EP is priced at £12.50 plus p&p.