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the magical control of rain: Morris Pert, Mark Spalding, Geert Callaert and Me.

the magical control of rain: 8 pieces for piano | duration circa 40 minutes | dedicated posthumously to Morris Pert

Premiere: Geert Callaert – Friday 1st. May 2015 at 6.30pm at the National Centre for Early Music, York UK. A full programme can be viewed here, just scroll down to ‘event 4.

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Weather control is the act of manipulating or altering certain aspects of the environment to produce desirable changes in weather. Weather control can have the goal of preventing damaging weather, such as hurricanes or tornados, from occurring; of causing beneficial weather, such as rainfall in an area experiencing drought; or of provoking damaging weather against an enemy or rival, as a tactic of military or economic warfare.

the magical control of rain is posthumously dedicated to the Scottish composer Morris Pert.

Shortly before Morris passed away in 2010 we had a number of very interesting phone calls. Morris also wrote to me and sent me some of his music; as ever, he was keen to share and have feedback. I attach a photo of the last letter he sent me. After having know about and admired each other’s music for many years and only recently, finally meeting via Facebook, our conversations and friendship were sadly cut short.
 
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Morris has a facebook page dedicated to his life and work here.

A few years ago I discovered that the pianist Mark Spalding was a great advocate of Morris Pert’s piano music and has become the prime exponent of this music in the UK. I suggested to Mark that it may be an attractive idea to ask other composers who admired Pert’s music to write some small piano pieces to be performed alongside this music in concerts.
 
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Mark asked me if I would like to write a piece for left hand only. Also, as a number of composers were involved in writing these pieces it was suggested that material from Pert’s Drosten theme (contained within another piano work) was incorporated in some way to bind the compositions together.

This I did. However, I created a piece that I was generally unhappy with and did not deliver it to Mark.

Subsequently, I took the material from the left-hand only piece and decided to experiment with it; transforming, expanding and restructuring the music for both hands. I instantly felt more satisfied with the results. It soon became clear to me that I was not building a small occasional piece composed around Pert’s theme but a substantial 40+ minute, eight-movement work that whilst no longer audibly themed around Pert’s notes, was, never-the-less, imbued with the ghost of these notes as well as the original left-hand music; It was as if the shapes, structures and harmonies of the left-hand piece were binding this new work together.

I finally plucked up courage to tell Mark that the shorter left-hand only piece had failed, but I had written a demanding and substantial work to pay tribute to the music of my friend, Morris Pert.

the magical control of rain is a through-composed complete work. However, each of the eight sections of this piece have been designed as free-standing shorter pieces in their own right, to be performed separately, in varied combinations or ideally as the one complete piano work.
 
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Mark Spalding went on to premiere parts 1 & 2 of the collection in Schotts music room, London in 2013. Unfortunately I was unable to attend.
 
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A little before this I met the pianist Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, probably on Twitter although the exact circumstance of our meeting illude me just now.
Pierre Arnaud and I admired each other’s work enormously and quickly moved to a point of wanting to work with each other. Pierre-Arnaud asked me to send him a collection of recent piano works so he could see if anything took his fancy. One of the works I sent was the magical control of rain and it was this piece – the biggest collection of pieces I sent, that he was drawn to.

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After several different attempts to secure a performance and recording opportunity for the magical control of rain we received a great offer from the York Spring Festival of New Music. Unfortunately, although we got very close to premiering the work, unforeseen circumstances prevented this performance from coming to fruition.
 

Luckily, my very good friend and amazing pianist, Geert Callaert was able to save the day by stepping in to learn this huge piece of repertoire at the very last minute – in fact, with just 6 weeks till the premiere date!
 
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Geert and I are very excited to present the premiere on Friday 1st. May 2015 at 6.30pm at the National Centre for Early Music, York, UK. A full programme can be viewed here, just scroll down to ‘event 4’.

Geert Callaert:
The virtuoso pianist Geert Callaert took piano classes with Jan Vermeulen at LUCA-Arts campus Lemmensinstituut in Leuven (Belgium), obtaining the highest degrees for piano, chamber music, piano accompaniment, advanced musical analysis, composition and conducting (the special prize Lemmens-Tinel). In 2002 he graduated at the Orpheus institute with a project on the piano music and chamber music with percussion of Stockhausen, Xenakis and Wuorinen. During his formative years he participated in many seminars, among them the Stockhausen courses and seminars at the IRCAM in Paris. He is much sought after as a soloist and chamber musician at home and abroad because of his large and virtuoso repertoire, ranging across the whole gamut from classical to new music.
Callaert is also a composer and a professor of piano music and chamber music for students who want to specialize in contemporary work, as well as a researcher in music, conductor and accompanist working at LUCA-Arts campus Lemmensinstituut (Leuven, Belgium) and the Koninklijk Conservatorium Antwerpen (“School of Arts van de AP Hogeschool”, Antwerpen, Belgium). His performances and music can be found on 15 CDs and 1 DVD. The DVD “Avant-garde” contains two film scores with his music (music for two surreal silent movies, Belgian art). In 2012 he has released with the Academy for New Music Lemmensinstituut LUCA-Arts as a conductor and pianist (Pavane Records) the worldwide sold cd “Mysterious Morning” containing contemporary and virtuoso music for saxophone by Tanada, Wuorinen, De Clercq, Neyrinck and Hurel. Different composers worldwide such as Marc Yeats (UK), Robert Groslot (Belgium), Idin Samimi Mofakham (Iran) and Kee Yong Chong (Singapore) have recently written their most beautiful piano music for him. Geert Callaert is a member of the artistic board and a co-founder of the HERMESensemble and one of the core performers in the ensemble (www.hermesensemble.be).