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5 minutes with James Slimings, music director with the Hadley Court Singers, on his productuion of Haydn’s Creation

James Slimings

James Slimings

Why do you want to project a visual interpretation of Haydn’s Creation alongside the choral performance?

There is something very special about choral music and choral performance. A group of people singing the same words at the same time, and all of them having their own meanings and interpretations to make a whole is something unique. As I’m conducting, I often have a sort of ‘film’ in my mind, and I think that many people have this also, the visual interpretation is the collective Hadley Court Singers film.

You’ve replaced some of the solo parts with modern choral works on the same theme - which of these do you like best and why?

They are all fantastic pieces, and have their own merits, but I think that Ne Timeas Maria is my favourite. This piece is describing the Creation of Man, and is the only piece in the programme that isn’t 20th century or Haydn. Performing a piece of music that has been heard in the same way for hundreds of years is a really fulfilling experience, it makes us living custodians of this piece of history. It is also purposefully the only piece in a foreign language (Latin) - this makes it both human and etherial at the same time.

You’re planning to create a visual sunrise in St Mary’s Parish Church - what are the challenges of working in such an unconventional film-screening venue?

The sunrise is going to be at the very start of the concert as the audience then become enveloped in our films and choral sound. The building is set up for concerts and is often used as a venue, however the church’s beauty is one of the main difficulties. The light that comes in from the beautiful stained glass is proving a challenge to keep the contrast of the films to a high enough quality. There is also an ornate stone pulpit that must weigh a few tonnes where we would like to place a projector. We are working with Blacklight in Edinburgh and they have been really great in bringing our vision to fruition.

You were choir coordinator for David Greig’s Fringe First winning work The Events in the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe. Has working in theatre influenced you when working on this project?

The events was a fantastic opportunity for myself and the choirs that I was working with to do something a little bit different. I’m constantly blown away by the willingness of choirs to try new things. At Hadley Court Singers we are creating works of artistic merit on a local stage which will directly benefit the local economy.

 

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