Jardin, St.Privat-des-Prés. Stephen Pratt (2021)  

In Hope (2021)

Live at the Capstone Theatre, Liverpool

Flute, Clarinet, percussion, violin, violoncello, Percussion, piano

In Hope has been written for Pixels Ensemble for tonight’s event, marking as it does the conclusion of my 50th year of teaching at Hope. The outstanding musicians of Pixels Ensemble are friends and colleagues with whom I have enjoyed many collaborations in the past, and In Hope is dedicated to them.

Given the context, the backward and forward looking nature of the title didn’t need too much thinking about, especially as we find our way out of a global health crisis. At the same time as writing the piece, I was concluding my undergraduate teaching at Hope and working on a picture of my empty and (to date!) inaccessible garden in France. In Hope is a fast, short movement, which is largely bright and breezy in character; in earlier days, maybe a scherzo ...

Performed by Pixels Ensemble

00:00 Intro
07:21 Interview
24:39 The Miraculous Mandolin (sextet, 2007)
42:33 Short Score (clarinet and piano, 2006)
54:23 Entre Nous (cello solo, 2012)
*01:08:27 In Hope (first performance, 2021)
01:14:03 Further chat with Stephen
01:25:39 On Reflection (sextet, 2011)
01:40:38 Solo Uno (clarinet solo, 2015)
01:50:42 Telling the Tale (sextet, 2019)
02:01:38 Thank you Stephen
02:02:57 End credits

*starts automatically on play

Pixels Ensemble ...

Cormac Henry - Flute

Kate Romano - Clarinet

Mark Simpson - Clarinet and Conductor

Thelma Handy - Violin

Jonathan Aasgaard - Cello

Simone Rebello - Percussion

Ian Buckle - Piano

For almost his entire career, Stephen Pratt has been based in his hometown city of Liverpool. Entering Christ’s College as an intending primary school teacher in 1965, he took up the serious study of Music for the first time; when he completed his three-year training, he taught part-time and joined the conducting class at the Royal Manchester College of Music (now the RNCM). Following this with a Music degree at Reading University, he returned to Liverpool for postgraduate study in 1971, and secured some part-time teaching back in the Music department at Christ’s College. Becoming a full-time member of staff in 1972, he witnessed all the transformations that saw the college become part of Liverpool Hope University, and he became head of the Music department from 1991-2012, establishing it as one of the leading teaching and research departments in the University. Since stepping down as head, he has continued to work in the Department in a variety of capacities.

As a composer, Stephen’s career also reflects his lifelong association with Liverpool and the North-West; he has had around a dozen major works premiered by the RLPO and Ensemble 10/10, and has also worked closely with the Manchester based ensemble Psappha and members of tonight’s ensemble, Pixels. Beyond Liverpool, his work has been heard at home and abroad, including performances at London’s South Bank, and through broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. In 1997, he was appointed as Professor of Music at Gresham College, London, a post he shared with Joanna MacGregor, with whom he has worked closely for nearly 30 years.

Stephen has also worked as a broadcaster for the BBC, including interviewing composers such as Michael Tippett, Peter Maxwell Davies and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

For many years he collaborated with colleagues at the RLPO, Bluecoat Chambers and the Arts Council to bring many leading contemporary music figures and their work to Merseyside. Tonight’s concert comprises pieces written over the last fifteen years or so, and are all published by Edition hh, Stephen’s publisher since 2001.

Composed by Stephen Pratt