When ArtsTrain’s Programme Producer Alice Hale, got in touch via Bow Arts to enquire about using the Egg as a recording studio and performance space, I was really enthusiastic about working with an organisation ‘Making Music Happen for Young People’ *
Imogen, Tara, Emily, Dixie, Yip and Joseph came with Alice and Jack Pierce from Spectash productions* on Saturday December 7th to record a mini concert in the intimate environment of the Egg. Alice explained that ‘These young people have been working with ArtsTrain for the last 6 months as part of our London Jazz Festival Project. The group first met in May to share ideas and create songs based on the theme of Climate Change and the Environment. Inspired by Greta Thunberg this group have been championing youth activism through their passionate, cross-genre original music. The project culminated in a show at the Southbank Centre on 24th November, where they closed the festival with their invigorating five song set. The song Listen and Learn was written by Imogen, one of the youngest members of the group. This tender and poignant song is a response to the media’s negative portrayal of Greta Thunberg.’
Listen and Learn was performed in the Egg with Imogen on Ukulele and Tara, Emily and Dixie providing backing vocals. This was always going to be a really appropriate connection, since the Egg is such a potent symbol for nurture, sustainability and our damaged relationship with nature. I also like the idea of one art form supporting another, with new and original music inside a sculptural Egg created as visual art and architecture.
‘The Concert in the Egg’ a painting by an early follower of the artist Hieronymus Bosch from 1561 was an interesting connection that came to mind when we were planning the event. The specific looking musical notation it depicts was given by Alice to Yip and Joseph, who researched its origins with a view to playing a contemporary version for our own Concert in the Exbury Egg.
They found out it was a piece called ‘Toutes Les Nuits tu Presente’ from 1549 by Thomas Crecquillon, a composer from the Netherlands. Joseph explained that it was originally scored for four part voice and that though music was written differently in the 16th Century a modern score was available which he could show me on his phone. Joseph and Yip kept the melody, ‘jazzed it up’ for the 21st Century and played it on flute and Keyboard. I will show the video when it becomes available after editing in January. It was great to have such a unique and historic visual arts reference for our music day, in addition to the pressing environmental one.
*https://www.artstrain.org.uk & https://www.spectash.com