Richard Durrant’s 2017 Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour is racing across the country from the South Coast to Beverley in Yorkshire. Catch this fantastic Christmas show while you can…

Richard Durrant is joined by master folk fiddler Nick Pynn and fantastic singer Amy Kakoura to create a truly magical experience taking us to the heart of Christmas.

Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant, Nick Pynn and Amy Kakoura

And here’s a taste of the magic to come with an extract from Richard’s 2013 album ‘Christmas Guitars’. The track ‘An Acoustic Winter Solstice  ‘ creates a wintry, musical landscape of acoustic instruments, hammond organ and percussion:

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concerts have become a much loved part of Christmas for many years. The music includes original work as well as the familiar – and all led by Richard’s uniquely expressive way with the flawless technique of a major virtuoso and the delivery of a natural story teller.

Setting Up

Richard warming up

Richard warming up

Here’s the schedule of shows still to come in this year’s run up to Christmas:

 

Richard Durrant Studio

After the gigs & accolades here it comes: STRINGHENGE, the long awaited double album on vinyl, CD & download. We asked Richard Durrant to tell us more about the project…

The first question has to be: Why Vinyl?

‘˜The ritual of playing vinyl has always been part of my musical life although I’ve never released anything on this format. It was during my recent Stringhenge tour that I began to hear what I was playing as a double vinyl album. One half would be my arrangements of Bach interwoven with British folk music and the other half will consist entirely of my own music. Of course it’ll also be released on CD and Download but it’s conceived with big, beautiful artwork to be listened to on a record player’

The photo above was taken in my studio last Saturday by the wonderful Alison Petty. This is where STRINGHENGE will be recorded.

Tell us about your plans to promote this album…

‘I’ll be playing a series of concerts beginning in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney on the 1st June and heading south for another dozen concerts on my way back to Sussex. As I have done twice before I shall travel from gig to gig by bicycle.

Here are some of my guitars, all of whom earn their place in my studio. The ‘Uffington’ Tenor Guitar by Ian Chisholm and the Concert Guitar made by Gary Southwell from 5,000-year-old English oak will both feature on Stringhenge.

Listen to the demo track: The Bog Oak Bouree

And what about the special offers coming up as part of this project?

Yes, we’ve got some great special offers as part of the tour. These will include:

  • front row seats for the Orkney concert
  • tickets to a private concert in my studio
  • your name on the album artwork
  • signed copies of the vinyl or CD album
  • and there’s even the opportunity to join me and cycle for sections of this musical adventure.

So how do we find out more?

Visit our STRINGHENGE TOUR and also see all the shows listed in our DIARY

Christmas on the Map

 

Richard Durrant’s 2017 Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour presents 12 performances across 8 different venues from the South Coast to the Yorkshire Dales…

For many music lovers across the UK Christmas doesn’t properly begin without attending one of Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concerts. For guitar maestro and composer Richard Christmas is also very special which is why this tour has been a major part of his concert schedule for many years.

Richard’s musical choices are always a fascination. Original guitar works as well as tunes taken from the early music repertoire and works by Bach – all played in his uniquely expressive way with the flawless technique of a major virtuoso and the delivery of a natural story teller.

Richard Durrant, Amy & Nick

Richard Durrant, Nick Pynn and Amy Kakoura

This year Richard is once again joined by master folk fiddler Nick Pynn and singer Amy Kakoura – two great musicians who help take this show into the heart of Christmas.

‘… a celebration without any sparkly tinsel and commercial sentimentality. Amy’s pure vocal was a Yuletide delight. Durrant’s playing was masterful creating the right seasonal feel to this family show. ‘
– Brighton Argus

And here’s a taste of the magic to come with an extract from Richard Durrant’s 2013 album “An Acoustic Winter Solstice’ creating a wintry, musical landscape of acoustic instruments, hammond organ and percussion:

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour 2017

 

 

PledgeMusic for Stringhenge

After the gigs & accolades here it comes: STRINGHENGE, the long awaited double album on vinyl, CD & download…

This project can only happen with your help so Richard has teamed up with the leading crowd-funding company PledgeMusic. So, if you love Richard’s music, PledgeMusic is where you can become part of Stringhenge.

Please have a look at some of the ways you can get involved. Initially you can order advance copies of the double album and even have your name included on the album artwork, but more offers are scheduled to be announced weekly. You can buy an Access Pass for regular project updates, details of new offers plus a digital download of the album on completion.

And here’s just a sample of what you can do at PledgeMusic:

How you can pledge How you can pledge

1 June 2018 sees the launch of the next chapter in the Stringhenge journey with a promotional tour to launch Stringhenge – The Album, beginning on Orkney with a concert in St Magnus Cathedral and ending in Sussex. In true Richard Durrant style, and to minimise the carbon footprint of this project, he will cycle the entire tour carrying all the gear for each concert.

Listen to The Bog Oak Bouree – the demo track for Stringhenge the album.

Stringhenge was launched in Ditching, Sussex on 24th March 2017, the first show in the Stringhenge tour. From there it has gone from strength to strength with concerts the length and breadth of the British Isles.

And there are two more shows coming up in the 2017 tour at The Cut in Halesworth on 16 November and Thomas Cranmer Centre in Aslockton on 17 November.

PledgeMusic

French Guitar Adventurers 2018

Richard Durrant is planning two week long French Guitar Adventurers courses in the south of France. Richard tells us more about these exciting and popular courses in July and September 2018 for Guitarists and their friends…

How long have you been running these courses in France and who are they aimed at?

2018 will be the third consecutive French Guitar Adventurers holiday. We welcome guitarists of all descriptions and often have a mix of classical and acoustic players. We find there is a lot to be learned from both instruments (and players) plus the blend of sounds is great. We also tend to have a fairly even split of readers and non-readers which has not proved a problem. I do try to meet each of the players before the course and I will then spend time writing my arrangements for that combination of players and tailoring the group sessions.

French Guitar Adventurers

What sort of activities are you planning this year?

Our French Guitar Adventurers holiday are an immersive guitar experience for all concerned!

The activities this year will be along the same lines as before – the players and I spend most of each day together exploring lots of fairly calming technical routines which I have designed to help each guitarist slowly explore the physical side of their playing.

I also introduce lots of more holistic musical aspects along the way which many guitarists seem to welcome. These touch upon key awareness, aspects of musical notation, ensemble playing and listening skills so we cover a lot of ground. To an outsider it may look a bit like guitar yoga (although I have named it Guitar Circuit Training). These sessions very quickly turn to working on a collection of new arrangements which I bring to each course.

What makes these courses special compared with other residential courses?

My Guitar Adventurers holidays always end with a concert featuring, most importantly, the entire group. This is what my arrangements are designed for so that everyone is able to be involved.

French Guitar Adventurers

Listen to one of the 2016 group pieces:

The concert will also include various solos and duos etc that have emerged during the week. Preparing for and performing in the concert is where the real learning takes place (myself included!). By gig time we will all have got to know each other both socially and musically and this creates a special magic by the end of the week. Last year half the town and even the mayor turned up and I really got the sense that they had witnessed something rather marvellous. Certainly the mutual support and co-operation of all the Guitar Adventurers, and their partners, is evident both on and off the fretboard.

The setting for French Guitars Adventure

The setting for French Guitars Adventure

The workshop space

The workshop space

This year’s dates: 8-14 July and 10-16 September

And what are the details for enrolment?

The week is hosted by myself and Louise with the help of the totally wonderful “The French Retreat”. Situated near Bordeaux, this is is a truly magical location for our week.

Although we have room for ten guitarists and ten non guitarists (partners, friends, family etc), both weeks are already 50% full – so please get in touch as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

To enquire about taking part just contact Louise at louise@richarddurrant.com. We can then talk to each applicant to discuss individual needs including musical and dietary requirements etc.

 

The pool awaits you

The pool awaits you

Richard Durrant

Coming up soon on 19 October, Richard Durrant is staging a really special one off concert in Brighton with special guest, pianist and harpsichordist Howard Beach. We discover more about this rather special musician…

An ancient picture of Howard Beach and Richard Durrant

An ancient picture of Howard Beach and Richard Durrant

If you put Howard Beach into Wikipedia it brings up is an upper middle class neighbourhood in the New York borough of Queens!

Ramblersville

Ramblersville

Howard Beach

Howard Beach

However this Howard Beach is a rather special harpsichord player, previously a member of baroque group Red Priest and frequently broadcasting on radio. He has also been consultant and performer for programmes on Channel 4.

Howard has performed and recorded extensively on both harpsichord and piano. He has performed with artists including Les Arts Florissants, the Apollo Chamber Orchestra and the London Mozart Players at concert halls throughout Europe, Canada, and the Far East as well as many UK venues. He is now the keyboard player in The Richard Durrant Orchestra.

Guitarist Richard Durrant and keyboard maestro Howard Beach having been playing together for over 25 years. One of the highlights of the concert will be Howard joining Richard Durrant in their unique version of Vivaldi’s A minor guitar concerto.

And here is lovely video example of them working together with a performance of Rodrigo’s magnificent Concierto de Aranjuez:

In 2014 they brought out an album to celebrate their musical collaboration featuring their own arrangements of Vivaldi and Bach works, with Julian Bream’s arrangement of Boccherini’s Fandango thrown in for good measure.

Guitar and Harpsichord Richard Durrant & Howard Beach

The album ‘Richard Durrant & Howard Beach – Guitar & Harpsichord’ is a virtuosic, fiery, classical offering.
The Westmoreland Gazette

Richard Durrant with special guest Howard Beach

St Paul’s Church, Brighton
Thursday 19 October, 7pm

Chichester

This week saw Richard Durrant’s 13th performance of Stringhenge Tour 2017 in the magical setting of Chichester Cathedral. With it’s beautiful acoustics, atmospheric ambience and historical legacy this has to be one of the highlights of the tour so far…

And most importantly, the audience loved it too:

Another wonderful and atmospheric concert. Brilliant acoustic and lighting too!

Catch up with Richard’s video diary of this week’s highlights…

And there are just three more performances of Stringhenge left in the current tour – so just three chances left to catch this mesmerising show:

Richard Durrant

Richard Durrant with special Guest Howard Beach

Also coming up on Thursday 19 October at St Paul’s Church, Brighton, is a really special one off concert in Brighton with special Guest, pianist and harpsichordist Howard Beach. Howard will join Richard Durrant in their unique versions of Vivaldi’s A minor guitar concerto alongside other works.

Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour

And after that it’s Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour. This year Richard is once again joined by master folk fiddler Nick Pynn and singer Amy Kakoura – two great musicians who help take this show into the heart of Christmas.

‘This was a celebration without any sparkly tinsel and commercial sentimentality. Amy’s pure vocal was a Yuletide delight. Durrant’s playing was masterful creating the right seasonal feel to this family show. He played two shows, both sold out.’
– Brighton Argus

Richard Durrant is half way through his Stringhenge Tour 2017 after a successful performance in the South of France and several shows in England. Richard tells us a little more about the music in the concert in this video from Wednesday’s performance at Wilmington Church at the feet of the Longman…

“This is a real journey of discovery for me – exploring a love of Britain without tripping over the spectre of patriotism”.
– Richard Durrant

The tour runs until 17 November so there is still time to catch Stringhenge at a venue near you. From Cumbria’s Appleby in the north down to Devon’s Kingskerwell in the south, this is a really special show which will appeal to just about everyone. Check out the tour map and itinerary below:

Stringhenge Tour Map

Stringhenge Tour Map

Chichester Cathedral

Yes it’s true! Richard Durrant is incapable of resting on his laurels for long so after the sell out world premiere of his Ukulele Concerto on Sunday and the debut of his new 17-piece band, The Burning Deck he’s out on the road again – this time to the south of France for the beginning of his latest Stringhenge Tour 2017. 

One of the highlights of this tour has to be the one in the spectacular setting of Chichester Cathedral with its tall spire rising above its green copper roof which can be seen for many miles across the flat meadows of West Sussex.

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral

This spire is traditionally an important landmark for sailors too being the only medieval English cathedral visible from the sea. This tower is actually a replica built at the end of the 19th century by the great Sir George Gilbert Scott – the original one had stood for 450 years before it suddenly collapsed in on itself in 1861.

Fortunately no-one was hurt!

28 September at 7.30pm is the date and time for this one. As with all the Stringhenge concerts it features acoustic music inspired by the British Isles. In fact, this show is a uniquely British exploration of unplugged, acoustic music on the folk/classical cusp. And is a sample of what’s to come with The Bog Oak Bouree – Richard’s arrangement of the Bouree from the 1st Lute Suite in Em. It is very much Richard’s own version but it also gives a respectful nod to Davey Graham and Jethro Tull:

“This is a real journey of discovery for me – exploring a love of Britain without tripping over the spectre of patriotism”.
– Richard Durrant

And of course there are also the incredible instruments which will resonate particularly beautifully in the splendid acoustics of Chichester Cathedral with the amazing Uffington Tenor Guitar by Ian Chisholm and the Concert Guitar by Gary Southwell made from a 5,000 year old bog oak.

As for the other venues on the Stringhenge tour, this map tells the story. And every venue has its own story – Richard played a Stringhenge gig this midsummer by the Uffington Hourse for example but his plan was always to play a gig at the Autumn equinox next to the LongMan of Wilmington – and here it is on the tour on 20 September. Click on the link below to find it to out about the venue nearest you.

 

Upcoming events

Richard Durrant reflects on the music for the immense project that is Stringhenge ahead of the 2017 tour.

Bach’s 2nd Cello Suite in Dm must be right up there with his mighty Dm Chaconne. Playing this music on the bright little Tenor Guitar is like being given magic powers with which to cut the air.  In Stringhenge I play music from three Bach Suites on this instrument, once using the Skye Boat Song as a Prelude and once the Herefordshire tune Speed the Plough as a Coda.  The juxtaposition of British Folk melodies with Bach’s unstoppable flow of beauty is interesting to say the least. It makes my ears spin with pleasure.

JS Bach

JS Bach

Then there is the English music. My own guitar solo Metanoia, played on the historic Southwell instrument, is both dedicated to and written in the style of John Remborn (a style sometimes referred to as English Folk Baroque). I have also arranged a couple of pieces by Henry Purcell and Elgar’s Chanson de Matin.

There is another Durrant original in there as well:  The Sussex Suite for Tenor Guitar which is in three movements, the last of which The Spoil Bank Cross is inspired by Eric Gills giant crucifix which once stood on the spoil bank at Ditchling beside the main London railway line.  And Gill doesn’t provide the only controversy – more is contained within my peculiarly English concert as I contrast my love for the British landscape with a sense of shame and sorrow at the UK’s current position in the world. I take comfort from the music and am handed perspective by the ancient, English tree from which came my guitar.

Upcoming events