Former music students release new piece
The Brilliant and the Dark was commissioned for the Women’s Institute by Malcolm Williamson and Ursula Vaughan Williams, and was performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969 by 1,000 female volunteers. The piece narrates the story of Britain from the perspective of women who were war workers, crusaders wives and plague victims.
The piece had fallen into obscurity until re-discovered by artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White for a project at the Women's library in the summer of 2010. They invited Ellen to create a creative commons licensed manuscript remixing the original 1969 score. Ellen’s initial reaction was of enthusiasm but also of fear as she has never worked on such a project before. When she came to study music at Morley five years ago, she could not read music, but has now successfully developed her skills, has become a professional singer and is now working towards her master degree.
Work on the piece started in March 2010 and was presented with a performance 'Of The Brilliant and The Dark' at the Women’s Library in September 2010. However, Ellen kept working on the piece until February 2011 and has showcased it in different artists’ studios throughout London.
Ellen says working on ‘Of The Brilliant and The Dark’ was “experimental and playful” as it gave her “the chance to explore what voices could do”. Each song, she says describes the “scope of human emotions, it follows life from youth, to maturity and highlights emotions such as longing, grief, and maturity.”
The choir next performance of the piece will be in Bristol at “The Cube” next month.
For more information on Ellen’s upcoming performance or if you would like to download the piece please visit her website: www.ellensouthern.co.uk