Confinement and its effects on the mind are explored in the world premiere of a new arrangement of Stephen McNeff’s Vivienne, supported by the Leche Trust. Inspired by Vivienne Haigh-Wood, wife of T.S. Eliot, it explores her poor health, ill-fated marriage and latter years spent in an asylum. It is followed by Messiaen’s seminal Quartet for the End of Time, written and premiered whilst Messiaen was held in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.
Stephen McNeff - Vivienne (world premiere of ensemble arrangement)
Olivier Messiaen - Quartet for the End of Time
Tickets: £15 / free for under-26s supported by CAVATINA
About the artists
Clare McCaldin is a lyric mezzo-soprano whose presence in performance marks her out as a communicator of outstanding quality on the dramatic stage and concert platform. She is a powerful creative influence, as an interpreter of existing repertoire or commissioning and premiering new music.
She enjoys a busy concert schedule, working with pianists such as Libby Burgess, Iain Burnside, Andrew West and Paul Turner. Committed to chamber music collaboration of all kinds, Clare’s work in this area ranges from commissions with the Brodsky Quartet and Walton’s Facade, to baroque works with La Réjouissance and the Le Page Ensemble.
Clare’s discography includes plenty of mezzo-soprano repertoire written especially for her, notably Stephen McNeff’s Madrigali dell’Estate and Vivienne, as well as works by Hugh Wood and Ned Rorem. She has also recorded the role of Miss Tina in Michael Hurd’s The Aspern Papers and Mrs Fairfax/Hannah in John Joubert’s Jane Eyre.
Clare is particularly committed to the promotion and performance of contemporary vocal music and through her company McCaldin Arts continues to commission and develop new work. With her co-collaborator in McCaldin Arts, the pianist Libby Burgess, she has premiered works by Stephen McNeff and devised new presentations of existing repertoire such as Haydn’s London Ladies and Over My Shoulder.
Through McCaldin Arts Clare has created three solo shows. Two of these feature music by Stephen McNeff: A Voice of One Delight and Vivienne, which attracted excellent reviews for her compelling performance, including 5 stars in the Evening Standard (for reviews see here). Her latest one-woman show, Mary’s Hand, examines the reputation and life of Queen Mary I.
Clare was born in Liverpool and studied Modern Languages and History of Art while a choral scholar at Clare College, Cambridge, but began her professional life in advertising and arts administration before becoming a professional singer.
In concert Clare has sung with the Academy of Ancient Music, Philharmonia Orchestra, Die Kölner Akademie, the Northern Sinfonia, the choir of King’s College, The Three Choirs Festival, Barokksolistene, the Orchestra of the Golden Age, English Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Chamber Orchestra. She made her solo debut at the 2012 BBC Proms in Debussy’s Martyrdom of St Sebastian with the BBCSO/Knussen, which also opened the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival.
In operatic repertoire, Clare has sung Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), Meg Page (Falstaff), Oreste (La Belle Helene), Dorabella Örsze (Hary Janos), as well as Dido, Dorabella, Second Lady, Orlovsky, Siebel, Hansel, Véronique (Le Docteur Miracle), Flora and Mrs Peacham. Her contemporary repertoire roles include the Stardust Seller (Stephen McNeff’s The Gentle Giant), the Mezzo Actor (Judith Weir’s A Night at the Chinese Opera) and Mezzo Cautioner (Errollyn Wallen’s Cautionary Tales), as well as works in development at ROH, Opera North, WNO and Aldeburgh Music.
Among her broader repertoire are movement-based projects including William Tuckett’s The Wind in the Willows and Pinocchio, The Silver Swan with the Clod Ensemble and a devised project through McCaldin Arts supported by Rambert.
Hailed as ‘an instinctive collective’ (The Strad) the Berkeley Ensemble takes its name from two British composers of the last hundred years, father and son Sir Lennox and Michael Berkeley. It was formed in 2008 by members of Southbank Sinfonia, Britain’s young professional orchestra, with the aim of exploring the wealth of little-known twentieth and twenty-first century British chamber music alongside more established repertoire. It now enjoys a busy concert schedule performing throughout the UK and abroad, and is also much in demand for its inspiring work in education.
The ensemble’s flexible configuration and collaborative spirit has led to performances with leading musicians including Sir Thomas Allen, Richard Sisson, Gabriel Prokofiev and Nicholas Daniel. The group enthusiastically champions new music and has worked with composers John Casken and Robin Holloway. It was proud to premiere its first commission, Michael Berkeley’s Clarion Call and Gallop, in 2013 and featured the piece on its debut recording. Released in March 2014, the album was praised by Gramophone for ‘the vibrancy of the Berkeley Ensemble’s performance even compared with Dennis Brain and friends in [the Ferguson Octet’s] first recording.’
The ensemble is rapidly building a reputation for innovative and thought-provoking programming and in spring 2014 received official recognition with a Help Musicians UK Emerging Excellence award. Equally at home on the summer festival circuit and in the concert hall, the group has performed at the Latitude and Greenbelt festivals.
Taking its music to new audiences, most importantly through education work, is central to the ensemble’s activities. Its work in this area includes self-directed projects in addition to collaborations with Southbank Sinfonia, Merton Music Foundation and Pan Concerts for Children. The ensemble regularly coaches students in chamber performance at the University of York, is ensemble-in-residence at Queen Elizabeth School in Cumbria and Ibstock Place School in London and runs an annual residential chamber music course in Somerset.