#MiddayMusic presents Steven McIntyre (Organ) and Kinga Wojdalska (Viola)
This week our Young Artists Steven McIntyre (Organ) and Kinga Wojdalska (Viola) performed for #MiddayMusic. You can read our exclusive interviews with them and watch their videos below. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch all our upcoming videos, or watch our exclusive playlist.
Next week you can look forward to performances from Meera Raja (cello) on Monday, and Alix Lagasse (violin) on Wednesday, both at midday.
Steven McIntyre: Practising, performing and parenthood
“Not being able to share that music with others has taught me just how privileged we are in normal times to be able to perform. You can’t take the experience of learning a full piece without it,” says Scottish organist, Steven McIntyre, winner of the Company’s Silver Medal for his study at the Royal College of Organists.
“This year was supposed to see me perform at the Caird Hall in Dundee and perform two of Louis Vierne’s Symphonies as part of a series of all six which I had organised. As live organ recitals still can’t take place in Scotland, all of my recitals are now scheduled to take place next year.
Meanwhile, I’ve taken part in a number of online recitals to raise money for charities. I’ve also been fortunate to have some time each week to practice on the wonderful organ in Dunblane Cathedral. I set about learning the major organ works of Buxtehude and preparing movements from Vierne’s six organ symphonies in lieu of a Parisian study scholarship which should have been in April. I combine performing with academic music teaching in schools, so have been occupied with that since September. The summer also saw the birth of my daughter, which keeps me more than a little busy!
While I’m not quite finished learning Buxtehude’s works, I’ve chosen to perform my favourite piece so far for the #MiddayMusic concert. Buxtehude’s music forms a central part in the organ repertoire and, as we know, had a profound impact on the young J.S. Bach. The piece has such an energy and wonderful contrasts between sections before reaching a rather fantastic conclusion.
Hear Steven playing on his YouTube channel.
Kinga Wojdalska: Inspiring listeners with new works
Musicians’ Company Young Artist Kinga Wojdalska is a multi-award winning violist studying at the Royal College of Music. Her international stage performances include Musikverein in Vienna, Jordan Hall in Boston, Kings Place in London and a debut at the Royal Festival Hall in 2019 during the London Philharmonic Orchestra Showcase. Here Kinga talks about what lockdown has taught her and the #MiddayMusic she’s chosen to play.
“Lockdown has been a great opportunity for us musicians to learn new pieces, challenge ourselves with technical problems and broaden our knowledge, leading to a massive growth in music videos. But when I scroll through social media at the moment, so much of it contains standard repertoire, which is unlikely to get noticed or inspire the average listener.
It’s for this reason I chose to perform a piece written in 2004 by German violist Hans-Enrich Schröder-Conrad: Variations on The House of the Risin’ Sun. Captivating and easy to listen to, this set of Variations by Schröder-Conrad has never been recorded and shared with the public, making it even more attractive to publish now. For me it’s also beneficial working on and polishing a piece which contains all the essential means of expression and all the playing techniques for a string instrument.
Hans-Erich Schröder-Conrad wrote of the piece: ‘Growing up with Bach and The Beatles, with Beethoven, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz, as well as with many other musical influences, there was one song that never ceased to appeal to me in all its countless interpretations: The House of the Risin’ Sun. It was probably the blues-style 6/8 rhythm, combined with the broken guitar chords at the beginning, the unusual harmonic framework, the sad story told in the first person and the melody which apparently goes back to the 17th century, that delighted me. It would appear that I was not the only one thus affected. The list of countless female and male interpreters is in itself proof enough.
The starting point for the variations printed here was my arrangement of the song for jazz band. While I was working on it, I had the idea that a solo sonata would be a wonderful version of the above-mentioned narrative form in the first person. In this case, the basis was less the melody than the harmonic framework, as in a passacaglia or chaconne. However, there are also variations that depart from the harmonic scheme.
As to the content, ‘The House of the Risin’ Sun’ is said to be a euphemistic term for a brothel. The song may also be about the women’s prison in New Orleans, however, above whose entrance there was said to be a rising sun. The singer describes a milieu of poverty, peopled by drunkards, gamblers and prostitutes. He tells his own story, the story of a wasted existence. For him, all that remains in the end is the warning to stay away from the infamous ‘House of the Risin’ Sun’, which has meant ruin for him and many others.’
You can find out more about Kinga Wojdalska on the Musicians’ Company Artists’ Profile Page.