Inside the Music for Christmas
Richard Durrant takes a break from rehearsals to give us an insight into the music being performed in the Candlelit Christmas Guitar Concert Tour which started at the beginning of December…
Your Christmas shows always sound fresh and contemporary yet are rooted in the spirit of Christmas. So what is the secret go making your Christmas shows such a success every year?
“Luckily for me, because I love the time of year so much it always comes to me afresh, which is why I look forward to the tour so much – I like how many different things Christmas can mean to each of us. This elusive Christmas magic has challenged and inspired countless generations of musicians and songwriters who try to get to the heart of the matter. Christmas music, both sacred and profane, continues to flow and the surprises aren’t just under the Christmas tree, they come in the form of tunes and songs.”
What contribution do Nick and Amy make to the creative process?
“When Amy, Nick and I meet to prepare the shows there are many ideas that get chucked around – interestingly these often include British and Breton folk music. Certainly there are some amazing noises that drift out of my studio as the rehearsals get underway; Amy can bend and shape her voice any way she wants and Nick and I can play a lot of different instruments.
“I always play a solo set in each half, and we choose the duets with Amy and Nick together. The trio numbers we arrive at over a number of days spent playing, considering, rejecting, agonising and discussing – and then we start the routining and polishing. By this time we’re super keen to get in front of an audience…”
And is there any original music in the show too?
“Absolutely! This year I have a new solo piece called ‘Book of Spells’. And, of course, we have changed the songs and carols, tweaking the arrangements of our old favourites and introducing some great newcomers. I really don’t want to give too much away here – but I don’t think anybody would be able to guess our set list…”
Finally, what makes this different from any other Christmas concert out there?
“For me these concerts are to mark the winter solstice and celebrate the Christian alongside the Pagan. We carefully choose music, instruments and arrangements (even lighting and staging) to evoke the middle of winter and take the audience to a different place. It’s my thirteenth year of playing the candlelit tour (my sixth with Amy and third with Nick) and I hope that people will again notice we are aiming for something honest and authentic rather than commercial.”
Throughout December, you can catch Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Guitar Concert Tour at Beverley, Baulking (already sold out) East Chitlington, Tunbridge Wells, Findon Valley, Wilmington and Richard’s home town of Shoreham-by-Sea.
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