Tansy Davies is proving to be hot property this winter, with her latest award nomination for a South Bank Sky Arts Award. Davies is the only composer nominated in the Classical Music category, and competes for the award alongside the BBC Philharmonic and Hallé in Manchester, and the Liverpool Philharmonic.
It was Davies’ latest work, As with Voices and with Tears, a commission for a Remembrance Day concert from Portsmouth Grammar School which led Davies to be nominated for this year’s awards.
The award winners will be announced on 25th January 2011 at The Dorchester in London.
'...[Tansy Davies] chose the words of Walt Whitman for As with Voices and with Tears, a work for choir, string orchestra and electronics that used the spacious acoustic of Portsmouth Cathedral as an instrument in itself.
Whitman tells a chilling tale of a double grave for a father and son, killed side by side in combat. Davies extracted her music from this moving text using a system that assigned a different pitch to each letter of the alphabet, further moulding or sculpting the notes and enriching the harmonies into tonal clusters, so that the vocal lines are often only a semitone apart – difficult to sing but both arresting and mysterious in effect.
While bells, birdsong and footsteps murmur in and out in electronic interjections, singers and orchestra move as separate flocks on the wing, forming and reforming in large shapes that stream across the desolate landscape of the poem. The young choir sang this haunting, richly textured, mesmerising requiem with a flair and precision way beyond their years under the assured direction of Andrew Cleary in a most remarkable act of remembrance.'
The Guardian (Stephen Pritchard), 22 November 2010