Julian Marshall’s long career as a songwriter and composer spans 70s pop stardom with the bands Marshall Hain, The Flying Lizards and Eye to Eye, through to work as a mature composer of classical forms, including the celebrated choral music publications Out of the Darkness (2009) and The Angel in the Forest (2012) written for some of today’s top performers.
As co-founder, and creative director of, the London Song Company, as well as senior lecturer at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London, Marshall has nurtured his passion for teaching. However, composition takes a center-stage role in Julian’s professional life. It is with great pleasure that he is bringing the new work – Dark Disputes and Artful Teasing – to St Michael’s Church, Framlingham, on 30th April. And this tour celebrates his newly-signed contract with Novello Publishing.
Often inspired by great poets as a basis for his compositional narrative, this new piece features settings of William Blake’s famous Songs of Innocence and Experience.
“I had enormous fun writing these pieces,” says Julian. “Blake is a dream of a poet to set to music, as so many before me have discovered”. From Vaughan Williams to Benjamin Britten, Blake’s words have been popularly brought to life through music.
Blake’s subject matter juxtaposes spiritual quest and romantic ideals with the harsh realities of life – an insightful social comment which intrigues Julian. Providing great scope for compositional exploration, Julian carefully selected fourteen poems and, transformed through sound, the settings feature a broad stylistic and expressive range, “rather like you’re in Kings College Chapel one minute and then in a kind of surreal Ronnie Scott’s the next…!” describes the composer.
The premiere performance in Suffolk is not only a wonderful opportunity for residents to experience top caliber music making in the comfort of their home town, but it is also hugely exciting to host the pre-eminent British tenor, James Gilchrist, who will perform there for the first time.
“I love working with Julian,” expresses James, who has previously performed his work, “his music… speaks to people so directly and powerfully.”
Dark Disputes and Artful Teasing is written for an intimate ensemble of eight unaccompanied singers, with tenor soloist. James Gilchrist will be joined in performance by Rubythroat, an exciting and innovative vocal group from Trinity Laban College of Music and Dance. Under the baton of up-and-coming conductor, George Jackson, the performers wonderfully conjure atmospheres envisaged by Marshall.
This promises to be a highly enjoyable evening of music, and you are advised to book well in advance to avoid disappointment. Tickets (£8-16) are available for reservation and purchase online at firstname.lastname@example.org, via telephone from 07967 134730 and in person through Leo’s Deli box office, Market Hill, Framlingham. Remaining tickets can be bought on the night (doors open 6.45pm, performance starts 7.30pm). Profits will go to the charity ‘Place 2 Be’, who support young people with mental health issues – a subject that resonates through the life and works of Blake.