Los Nacimientos – Composer Tom Randle on his exciting new project for Buxton International Festival

d4cc46_41a7e5f0829a48a9bff3afc9c01dba28-mv2_d_5220_3484_s_4_2Los Nacimientos is a new, interdisciplinary dance/ theatre piece created in collaboration with dotdotdot dance. The piece itself began life as a song cycle – a setting of texts by the Nobel prize-winning Chilean revolutionary poet Pablo Neruda. The original cycle consisted of five settings of some of his most beautiful and sensuous texts, and has been performed on numerous occasions both in the UK and abroad by the excellent Canadian-British soprano Gillian Keith and superb pianist John Reid.

When I first encountered the poems of Neruda, I was struck not only by the sheer beauty of the words, but also by their immense strength and vitality. While it is clear that Neruda’s more politicised verses were capable of uniting a nation, his more intimate, romantic poems are every bit as powerful. Another aspect of his poetry is the fact that they are, in themselves, so very musical. The lightness and lyricism of his words made it a joy to set to music.

Although the song cycle in its original form had been received very successfully, it was after seeing a performance by dotdotdot dance at in the Buxton Fringe festival that the idea was hatched to work with them and put these two elements – 21st century Art Song and flamenco infused choreography – together. The ensuing result is the piece entitled Los Nacimientos (The Births). The title is taken from another of Neruda’s poems.

Since meeting with dotdotdot dance, the work has been expanded. Two new songs were added to the original set of five, and four piano interludes, called ‘Capitulos’ (‘Chapters’) were written to be interspersed among the sung poems. As Nerudas poems are so full of fantastic imagery, many of which focus on the elemental, we can expect to see choreography of immense strength and power to compliment an equally dynamic musical performance.

The goal of Los Nacimientos is to a forge a new type of theatre combining music, dance, sound and vision into a cohesive whole and bring to life the incredible verses of Pablo Neruda in a way never before seen. We hope that those already familiar with Neruda will welcome the chance to revisit his work in a brand new way, and for those encountering his poems for the first time, I can promise an extraordinary and unforgettable evening.

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Los Nacimientos will be performed at the Pavilion Arts Centre on Saturday 15 and Saturday 22 July at 7.30pm.

Buxton Festival Book Weekend 2016

Since our ‘Goodbye’ to Buxton Festival 2016, there has been a lot of the post-Festival blues feeling. One minute the town is full of company members, singers, musicians, writers, speakers… The next, they all seem to have vanished into thin air! However, the Festival spirit lives on, and we are getting ready for our next event – our Buxton Festival Book Weekend which runs from 18-20 November!

This will be our third Book Weekend, and we are very excited by this year’s programme. We hope we can tempt you! On Friday 18 November at 12 noon, we will be joined by Melvyn Bragg who will be talking about his most recent book Now is the Time which explores parts of Plantagenet history. At 14.00 we will be joined by William Sitwell who will take a look at rationing and food supplies during the Second World War, and Lord Woolton’s (Minster for Food) key role. At 16.30 the Poetry Competition Awards will be announced. In case you didn’t know, the deadline has been extended to 26 September – get your entries in now folks! Following the awards, An Evening with Ben Fogle will commence at 19.30 with stories about Land Rovers, the British Isles and wildlife encounters from his latest book Land Rover. On Saturday 19 at 12 noon, we will be joined by Simon Jenkins who will take us on a journey around Britain exploring some of the nation’s most magnificent cathedrals. At 14.00 Matthew Parris will explore scorn and put-downs from his most recent book Scorn: The Wittiest and Wickedest Insult and Invective in History. Next up, any Game of Thrones fans? (I’m only just on to season 4 so no spoilers, please). Join us at 16.00 when Helen Keen will explore the science behind the popular TV series. At 19.30 David Bramwell, John Higgs, James Burt and Jo Keeling will present an inspiring medley of Antarctic exploration, literary hoaxes, wild avant-garde art, time travel and the world’s largest underground temple… To round things off, there will be a Literary Lunch at 12 noon on Sunday 20 November, featuring writers Matthew Dennison on Beatrix Potter and Marina Warner with A Short History of Fairy Tale

Tickets are available now. Check out the Festival website and book now! 

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