Christmas with Richard Durrant on the map

Christmas on the Map

 

Richard Durrant’s 2017 Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour presents 12 performances across 8 different venues from the South Coast to the Yorkshire Dales…

For many music lovers across the UK Christmas doesn’t properly begin without attending one of Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concerts. For guitar maestro and composer Richard Christmas is also very special which is why this tour has been a major part of his concert schedule for many years.

Richard’s musical choices are always a fascination. Original guitar works as well as tunes taken from the early music repertoire and works by Bach – all played in his uniquely expressive way with the flawless technique of a major virtuoso and the delivery of a natural story teller.

Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant, Nick Pynn and Amy Kakoura

This year Richard is once again joined by master folk fiddler Nick Pynn and singer Amy Kakoura – two great musicians who help take this show into the heart of Christmas.

‘… a celebration without any sparkly tinsel and commercial sentimentality. Amy’s pure vocal was a Yuletide delight. Durrant’s playing was masterful creating the right seasonal feel to this family show. ‘
– Brighton Argus

And here’s a taste of the magic to come with an extract from Richard Durrant’s 2013 album “An Acoustic Winter Solstice’ creating a wintry, musical landscape of acoustic instruments, hammond organ and percussion:

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour 2017

 

 

Here it comes: Stringhenge, the double album

PledgeMusic for Stringhenge

After the gigs & accolades here it comes: STRINGHENGE, the long awaited double album on vinyl, CD & download…

This project can only happen with your help so Richard has teamed up with the leading crowd-funding company PledgeMusic. So, if you love Richard’s music, PledgeMusic is where you can become part of Stringhenge.

Please have a look at some of the ways you can get involved. Initially you can order advance copies of the double album and even have your name included on the album artwork, but more offers are scheduled to be announced weekly. You can buy an Access Pass for regular project updates, details of new offers plus a digital download of the album on completion.

And here’s just a sample of what you can do at PledgeMusic:

How you can pledge How you can pledge

1 June 2018 sees the launch of the next chapter in the Stringhenge journey with a promotional tour to launch Stringhenge – The Album, beginning on Orkney with a concert in St Magnus Cathedral and ending in Sussex. In true Richard Durrant style, and to minimise the carbon footprint of this project, he will cycle the entire tour carrying all the gear for each concert.

Listen to The Bog Oak Bouree – the demo track for Stringhenge the album.

Stringhenge was launched in Ditching, Sussex on 24th March 2017, the first show in the Stringhenge tour. From there it has gone from strength to strength with concerts the length and breadth of the British Isles.

And there are two more shows coming up in the 2017 tour at The Cut in Halesworth on 16 November and Thomas Cranmer Centre in Aslockton on 17 November.

PledgeMusic

Stringhenge and beyond…

Chichester

This week saw Richard Durrant’s 13th performance of Stringhenge Tour 2017 in the magical setting of Chichester Cathedral. With it’s beautiful acoustics, atmospheric ambience and historical legacy this has to be one of the highlights of the tour so far…

And most importantly, the audience loved it too:

Another wonderful and atmospheric concert. Brilliant acoustic and lighting too!

Catch up with Richard’s video diary of this week’s highlights…

And there are just three more performances of Stringhenge left in the current tour – so just three chances left to catch this mesmerising show:

Richard Durrant

Richard Durrant with special Guest Howard Beach

Also coming up on Thursday 19 October at St Paul’s Church, Brighton, is a really special one off concert in Brighton with special Guest, pianist and harpsichordist Howard Beach. Howard will join Richard Durrant in their unique versions of Vivaldi’s A minor guitar concerto alongside other works.

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour

And after that it’s Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour. This year Richard is once again joined by master folk fiddler Nick Pynn and singer Amy Kakoura – two great musicians who help take this show into the heart of Christmas.

‘This was a celebration without any sparkly tinsel and commercial sentimentality. Amy’s pure vocal was a Yuletide delight. Durrant’s playing was masterful creating the right seasonal feel to this family show. He played two shows, both sold out.’
– Brighton Argus

Richard Durrant’s Stringhenge video diaries

Richard Durrant is half way through his Stringhenge Tour 2017 after a successful performance in the South of France and several shows in England. Richard tells us a little more about the music in the concert in this video from Wednesday’s performance at Wilmington Church at the feet of the Longman…

“This is a real journey of discovery for me – exploring a love of Britain without tripping over the spectre of patriotism”.
– Richard Durrant

The tour runs until 17 November so there is still time to catch Stringhenge at a venue near you. From Cumbria’s Appleby in the north down to Devon’s Kingskerwell in the south, this is a really special show which will appeal to just about everyone. Check out the tour map and itinerary below:

Stringhenge Tour Map

Stringhenge Tour Map

Stringhenge heads to Chichester

Chichester Cathedral

Yes it’s true! Richard Durrant is incapable of resting on his laurels for long so after the sell out world premiere of his Ukulele Concerto on Sunday and the debut of his new 17-piece band, The Burning Deck he’s out on the road again – this time to the south of France for the beginning of his latest Stringhenge Tour 2017. 

One of the highlights of this tour has to be the one in the spectacular setting of Chichester Cathedral with its tall spire rising above its green copper roof which can be seen for many miles across the flat meadows of West Sussex.

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral

This spire is traditionally an important landmark for sailors too being the only medieval English cathedral visible from the sea. This tower is actually a replica built at the end of the 19th century by the great Sir George Gilbert Scott – the original one had stood for 450 years before it suddenly collapsed in on itself in 1861.

Fortunately no-one was hurt!

28 September at 7.30pm is the date and time for this one. As with all the Stringhenge concerts it features acoustic music inspired by the British Isles. In fact, this show is a uniquely British exploration of unplugged, acoustic music on the folk/classical cusp. And is a sample of what’s to come with The Bog Oak Bouree – Richard’s arrangement of the Bouree from the 1st Lute Suite in Em. It is very much Richard’s own version but it also gives a respectful nod to Davey Graham and Jethro Tull:

“This is a real journey of discovery for me – exploring a love of Britain without tripping over the spectre of patriotism”.
– Richard Durrant

And of course there are also the incredible instruments which will resonate particularly beautifully in the splendid acoustics of Chichester Cathedral with the amazing Uffington Tenor Guitar by Ian Chisholm and the Concert Guitar by Gary Southwell made from a 5,000 year old bog oak.

As for the other venues on the Stringhenge tour, this map tells the story. And every venue has its own story – Richard played a Stringhenge gig this midsummer by the Uffington Hourse for example but his plan was always to play a gig at the Autumn equinox next to the LongMan of Wilmington – and here it is on the tour on 20 September. Click on the link below to find it to out about the venue nearest you.

 

Upcoming events

The music of Stringhenge

Richard Durrant reflects on the music for the immense project that is Stringhenge ahead of the 2017 tour.

Bach’s 2nd Cello Suite in Dm must be right up there with his mighty Dm Chaconne. Playing this music on the bright little Tenor Guitar is like being given magic powers with which to cut the air.  In Stringhenge I play music from three Bach Suites on this instrument, once using the Skye Boat Song as a Prelude and once the Herefordshire tune Speed the Plough as a Coda.  The juxtaposition of British Folk melodies with Bach’s unstoppable flow of beauty is interesting to say the least. It makes my ears spin with pleasure.

JS Bach

JS Bach

Then there is the English music. My own guitar solo Metanoia, played on the historic Southwell instrument, is both dedicated to and written in the style of John Remborn (a style sometimes referred to as English Folk Baroque). I have also arranged a couple of pieces by Henry Purcell and Elgar’s Chanson de Matin.

There is another Durrant original in there as well:  The Sussex Suite for Tenor Guitar which is in three movements, the last of which The Spoil Bank Cross is inspired by Eric Gills giant crucifix which once stood on the spoil bank at Ditchling beside the main London railway line.  And Gill doesn’t provide the only controversy – more is contained within my peculiarly English concert as I contrast my love for the British landscape with a sense of shame and sorrow at the UK’s current position in the world. I take comfort from the music and am handed perspective by the ancient, English tree from which came my guitar.

Upcoming events

Premiere Preparations

Ukulele workshop

Preparations are in full flow towards the launch of Richard Durrant’s new band The Burning Deck and the world premiere of of his much anticipated Ukulele Concerto, Six Grooves for Ukulele on Sunday 10 September at Shoreham-by-Sea’s Ropetackle Arts Centre.

This gig is part of a huge project made possible by funding from The PRS for Music Fund, Arts Council England and the Ropetackle. It also happens to be the finale of The Sussex Ukulele Festival.

Richard tells us more about the preparations over the past weekend:

“We started rehearsal work two weeks ago with the first get together of my new string section. We rehearsed at home with the ever present Bollo knocking over music stands with his huge tail. Here he is having a sleep in the foreground.”

Strings and Dog

Strings and Dog

Meanwhile my good friend and stage manager, Matt Hodgson, together with his son Archie have built the Bicyclatter for Stephen Hiscock to play along with his numerous drums, bells and bongos…’

Look at all this bicyclatter in the garden…

Bicyclatter

Bicyclatter

Stephen Hiscock and Howard Beach (keys) joined the strings for a rehearsal last Sunday. This was a big moment as members of the core band joined with the mesmerising sound of the beautiful strings…

Adding Piano & Drums

Adding Piano & Drums

By the coming weekend the band will grow still further as Chris Brannick (percussion), Gareth Huw Davies (bass) and a large group of fellow ukulele players the Antiphonal Ukes join the fun.

We do hope you can make it along to this gig – it’s looking like it’s going to be something rather special!  Not only will this be a really exciting world premiere of a rather unusual new piece I have been working on – but I’m also hoping it will be the first of many outings with the band I have dreamt of forming for over twenty years.

Putting Stringhenge on the map

Stringhenge Tour Map

Richard Durrant is preparing to travel the length and breadth of England – and more -with his much anticipated Stringhenge Tour 2017. Check out our updated tour schedule to find a venue near you…

From the majesty of Chichester Cathedral to the beauty of the Occitanie region in the south of France, and from a Waterside Arts Centre on the Isle of Wight to a remote parish church in the Devon countryside, Richard’s captivating 2017 Stringhenge Tour is reaching out to a venue near you starting from this September.

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral

In addition to performing in these magnificent and varied venues, a highlight of the show will be two of Richard’s guitars: the Uffington Tenor – built by Sussex luthier Ian Chisholm and featuring a beautiful silver inlay of the ancient horse carved into the chalk at Uffington, and an extraordinary new six string Concert Guitar, built in Lincolnshire by luthier Gary Southwell.

“This is a real journey of discovery for me – exploring a love of Britain without tripping over the spectre of patriotism”.

And as for the music itself, Stringhenge juxtaposes the music of JS Bach with our great tradition of British folk melodies. As Richard himself puts it:

“It feels as though I’m using Bach’s music to unlock the hill barrows and henges of Britain”.

In the show Richard tells stories that link the music to his love of the native landscape. Yet there is also a growing, underlying  discomfort for Britain’s new place in the world in the 21st century.

 

Take part in Six Grooves

Richard Durrant Ukulele Workshops

Sign up for the workshops to get involved in the world premiere of Richard Durrant’s new concerto ‘Six Grooves for Ukulele’ at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea on 10 September.

How do I take part?

Sign up online for just £35 to take part in a series of workshops and the world premiere performance of Richard’s exciting new Ukulele Concerto. 

The distinctive sound of a large ‘chorus’ of Ukulele players are an integral part of this new work. They provide an antiphonal effect and beautiful background layers to the solo and orchestra. This also connects the work with the general ethos of the instrument – one of inclusion.

Richard also explains how this is just the start of the journey:

“Every audience uke player at each of our concerts will have completed a short series of workshops and one big rehearsal, this prepares them to take part in the performance but it also earns them a Six Grooves passport entitling them to take part in any future performance of the work anywhere in the world.”

Richard will prepare and rehearse a group of audience ukulele players to perform at the premiere on 10th September. Come along to the workshops and be part of the performance!

Six Grooves For Ukulele Workshops
Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea

Sat 26 August 11am – Ukulele Circuit Training – 1 hour
Sat 2 September 11am – Six Grooves Prep – 45mins
Sat 9 September 11am – Six Grooves Prep – 45mins
Sun 10 September 5.30pm – Orchestral Rehearsal – 1 hour

Cost: £35 per player including your concert ticket + A Six Grooves passport allowing you to perform at other performances ( at other venues passport holders might need to buy a ticket).

Six Grooves For Ukulele World Premiere

Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea

Sunday 10 September 7pm

The Burning Deck directed by Richard Durrant features a full string section with:
Chris Brannick & Stephen Hiscock – Percussion
Howard beach – Piano and Keys
Gareth Hugh Davis – Bass
Also featuring Cycling Music and The Girl at The Airport by Richard Durrant

Arts Council England PRS

Richard Durrant’s Summer Special

French Guitars

Richard Durrant is busily packing his bags before heading south to Chalais in France for the second French Guitar Adventurers.

But Richard still has time to tell us more…

Last summer’s French Guitar Adventurers was a great success. Everyone enjoyed working on our guitars each day and preparing for the end of week concert. I’m very excited to be leaving for France once again and can’t wait to see how this year’s lovely bunch of guitarists and friends respond to a week of music making and daily Guitar Circuit Training in the southern French sunshine.

I’m planning two trips next year – especially as the first two filled up so quickly this year. Please contact louise@richarddurrant.com if you are interested in participating in my French Guitar Adventurers next year in July 2018).

See what happened at last year’s Summer Guitar Adventurers:

After France I’ll be be continuing the hot, sunny mood with my Summer Special show at the Ropetackle in Shoreham-by Sea on Friday 21 July. This will feature a special performance of The Girl at the Airport when I will be joined by the La Cordia string quartet. There will be lots of other surprise guests and stacks of summer music to welcome in the holidays.

Do join me there if you can!

Summer concert diary

 

Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Hurst Green

1 December : 7:30 pmSt John’s Church
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Shoreham-by-Sea

2 December : 3:00 pmRopetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Shoreham-by-Sea

2 December : 8:00 pmRopetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Cobham

7 December : 7:30 pmSt Mary Magdalene Church
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Shoreham-by-Sea

10 December : 2:30 pmRopetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Shoreham-by-Sea

10 December : 7:30 pmRopetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Beverley

14 December : 7:30 pmToll Gavel United Church
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – East Chiltington

16 December : 7:00 pm£5 - £16 - East Chiltington Church
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Tunbridge Wells

20 December : 8:00 pmTrinity Theatre
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Findon Valley

21 December : 7:30 pm£8.25 - £16.50 - All Saints Church
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Wilmington

22 December : 3:00 pm£5 - £16 - St Mary’s & St Peter’s Church
Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert – Wilmington

22 December : 7:30 pm£5 - £16 - St Mary’s & St Peter’s Church
Richard Durrant Ukulele Workshops

Ukulele Ground Zero – 5 week course

3 January 2018 : 6:00 pm - 31 January 2018 : 7:00 pm£50 - Ropetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant Ukulele Workshops

Ukulele Circuit Training – 5 week course

3 January 2018 : 7:30 pm - 31 January 2018 : 8:30 pm£60 - Ropetackle Arts Centre
The setting for French Guitars Adventure

French Guitar Adventurers: 8-13 July 2018

8 July 2018 - 13 July 2018La Loge Yviers
The setting for French Guitars Adventure

French Guitar Adventurers: 10-16 September 2018

10 September 2018 - 16 September 2018La Loge Yviers