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.
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.