Derby Folk Festival Takes To the Rooftops For Unique Performance

Derby Folk Festival Takes To the Rooftops For Unique Performance

Four musicians from Derby-based East Midlands’ orchestra Sinfonia Viva will play a special commission from the 212 foot high Tudor tower at Derby Cathedral on Saturday October 7 as part of the Derby Folk Festival.

The first 15 minute performance will start after the Smith of Derby carillon plays its midday tune on the oldest working set of ten bells in the world and will then be repeated after the hour is chimed at 3pm and 5pm.

Trumpet players Gordon Truman and Anthony Thompson and Horn players Richard Wainwright and Jose Lluna will play from the tower – which is the second highest in the UK – overlooking Iron Gate in the Cathedral Quarter.

The score has been written by composer and trombonist Raphael Clarkson. He has taken his inspiration from the peregrine falcons who return to the Cathedral to nest every year, the clock chimes and the carillon which plays a different hymn or folk tune every day.

Raphael said: “I have worked with Sinfonia Viva on several community and education projects – including their 35th anniversary tour of the region this summer – and was delighted when they asked me to compose this piece for ‘All Call From On High’.

“My aim has been to create a narrative journey that captures the essence of the Cathedral and its civic and spiritual role in the city with a score that is majestic with fanfare elements that evoke joy and reflection in equal measure.

“There are various aspects to the music including the peregrines’ insistent call and flight as well as rhythmic bell chimes.

“Four of the recognisable tunes included in the carillon also weave through the piece including the ‘Derby Ram’ and ‘Highland Laddie’ folk tunes as well as the hymns ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’ and ‘All Saints’ which many people will recognise.

“My aim is that the music cuts through the hustle and bustle of the streets below and encourages people pause from what they were doing to listen as the music floats across the city centre.”

Raphael continued: “I have played from towers in Newark and Dartington which can be pretty scary, particularly as a trombonist as you can almost feel that you are going to fall as the instrument slide extends.

“This location is far less precarious and I know the players will be fine.

“The performances will, I hope, be spectacular and something pretty unique on a busy Saturday in the city centre.”

Rachel Morris, Chapter Steward at Derby Cathedral, continued: “We are all very excited about A Call From On High here at Derby Cathedral.

“We have worked with the Folk Festival and Sinfonia Viva for a number of years, and the programme we produce is increasingly popular. We’re looking forward to seeing how Raph and his musicians interpret the iconic sounds of the tower, from the birds to the bells, and we invite all to gather in Iron Gate and enjoy the spectacle.”

Bob Rushton, organiser of Derby Folk Festival concluded: "Derby Folk Festival has expanded over the years from being a single venue event, to taking over the city in a celebration of music and more.

“Working with SInfonia Viva, and Derby Cathedral over recent years has been a fantastic expansion of the event, seeing venues and musical links grow.

“From the moment we heard the seed of the idea about the rooftops performance, we were excited, and are delighted that it is part of the festival."

‘A Call From On High’ is the final stage of Grammy-nominated Sinfonia Viva’s four-week Autumn Derby Residency - marking the climax of the Orchestra’s 35th anniversary year.

Other performances at Derby Cathedral include ‘Simple Gifts’ – the latest in the Twilights series of early evening concerts on Wednesday October 4 with Principal Conductor Duncan Ward taking the baton as well as directing from the piano.

Viva’s wind quintet then returns to the Cathedral on Friday October 6 for a late afternoon and then evening concert, again as part of the Derby Folk Festival.

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