Music commissioned and composed for Emeritus Fellow Professor Dean Hawkes and his wife Christine for their 60th wedding anniversary will form the centrepiece of a special concert in Darwin on 18th November. Pieces composed by Gavin Bryars will be played by Dean and Christine’s son, violist and violinist Bill Hawkes.
The concert will also present the first public screening of In Cambridge, a film interpretation of the music written by Gavin for the Hawkes. The film features Bill Hawkes on violin, alongside his daughter, actor Eleanor Hawkes, and was filmed in Darwin and Little St Mary’s, where Bill was head chorister as a child. It will be shown alongside its companion piece, The North Shore, filmed in Whitby.
Bill has previously played in Darwin in the early days of the College when, as a child in the 1970s, he performed as the infant Mozart in a concert in the Dining Hall. We are delighted to welcome him back for what promises to be a very special evening.
If you plan to attend please register here.
Programme notes by Bill Hawkes:
This evening’s performance is largely devoted to the music of Gavin Bryars. I’ve worked with Gavin on many occasions, initially in 1992 when I was a member of the Balanescu Quartet, and subsequently as a member of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble between 1993 – 2004. I’ve been privileged to have given the first performances of some of his works, including The North Shore and In Cambridge, both of which feature this evening. It’s also my pleasure to be performing with Shaun Lyon, a friendship and musical partnership that dates back to 1985 when we met at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
This piece is one of three originally composed for solo cello, for Audrey Riley. Here it has been transcribed for solo viola.
Arvo Pärt – Spiegel im Spiegel (1978)
One of the Estonian composer’s best known works, Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in the Mirror) describes what happens in the piece; each ascending melodic line is followed by a descending mirror phrase, with an extra note being added each time. In autumn 1993, the first performances of Bryars’ The North Shore took place in art galleries at Edinburgh, Newcastle and Sheffield, to accompany an exhibition of paintings by James Hugonin. At Newcastle we also played Spiegel im Spiegel; its inclusion this evening is a nod to those first performances almost exactly 30 years ago.
Nick Drake – Horn (1972)
I was first introduced to the music of Nick Drake by Nigel Kennedy, when playing and recording in his string quartet in 1992. Drake studied English Literature at Cambridge University (Fitzwilliam) in 1967 – 69, before moving to London to further pursue his musical ambitions. He died in 1974, aged just 26. Horn is a short guitar instrumental from his haunting final LP, Pink Moon. I was born in Cambridge in 1967, coinciding with his time in the city. I recently discovered that my longstanding friend and colleague, the double bass player Chris Laurence, performed as a duo with Drake at the Royal Festival Hall in September 1970. Little is known about Horn; some have suggested that it was influenced by North African and/or Indian music. Drake had visited Morocco in 1967, prior to arriving in Cambridge. After playing the original piece here, I explore the possibilities of those influences in a brief improvisation, before returning to the theme.
Alberto Iglesias – Lacrimae for Juan (2001)
I was very fortunate to meet and work with the Spanish sculptor, Juan Muñoz, through my work with Gavin Bryars. We performed together in London and Madrid, as well as recording Gavin’s work, Man in a Room, Gambling. Juan died suddenly in 2001, and there was a memorial event in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, London, where he had a major installation (Double Bind) at the time. Gavin was asked to perform at this event, and he asked me to accompany him in The North Shore. Juan’s brother-in-law, Alberto Iglesias, is a composer (he has written the scores for many of Pedro Almodovar’s films); he wrote Lacrimae for Juan for the occasion, and Gavin and I performed it. Shaun and I have recorded the piece for a forthcoming release, with Alberto’s very kind permission.
Director – Alex Falconer
Shot by Benjamin Evans
Performance – Eleanor Hawkes
Supporting performances – Bill Hawkes, Shaun Lyon, Gavin Bryars
Filmed in Cambridge and Whitby, March 2023
Gavin Bryars – In Cambridge (2021)
The North Shore (1993)
In 2021, I asked Gavin if he’d consider writing a short piece for violin and piano for my parents’ forthcoming 60th wedding anniversary. He very kindly agreed, and wrote In Cambridge for them; they were absolutely thrilled by this generous gift from him. Shaun and I performed it at their celebratory dinner at Darwin, in September 2021. We subsequently recorded this and other pieces, the recordings being produced by the saxophonist, John Harle. It was John’s idea that we approach someone to make a pair of short films to accompany In Cambridge and The North Shore, and hopefully reach a wider audience.
My daughter, Eleanor Hawkes, studied acting at Falmouth University in 2016-19, where she met and worked with Alex Falconer and whom she recommended to me. After a productive initial meeting, we agreed to work together on this project. Alex and Eleanor’s collaborative creativity, along with Benjamin Evans’ incredibly skilful camera work, was a privilege to witness. The locations in the films reflect personal connections to places; I was a chorister at Little St Mary’s church in the 1970s, and my parents have a long association with Darwin College. We greatly appreciated the kind permission of LSM and Darwin in allowing us to film there. Gavin recalled childhood holidays in Whitby in The North Shore. We were also very grateful for Gavin’s appearance in the film, taking place as it did at 6:30am in temperatures as low as -5 Celsius, with treacherous conditions underfoot after overnight snow (and a late night).
Gavin Bryars – Epilogue from Wonderlawn (1994)
This piece forms the end of a work (Wonderlawn) that was first performed by the Gavin Bryars Ensemble (of which I was a member at the time) for a ballet performance by the Laurie Booth Dance Company, in Sussex in 1994. Here it has been transcribed for viola and piano.
Programme notes : Bill Hawkes (Canterbury, November 2023).