reviews

amphora_photo_by_claire_shovelton---26_4

Photo Credit Claire Shovelton

For SOPHIE (in development) - in response to the sharing of semi-staged extracts at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival, August 2021:-

 I joined the online broadcast yesterday evening. I have to say, I really enjoyed the way you put music into the letters and poems! Of course I’m not the most objective person in the world when it comes to Taeuber and Arp, but it was so good recognising the texts you chose in a totally different way than I’m used to. I loved the melodies you created for these words. Congratulations for such a great result.  - Sebastien Tardy, Curator at Fondation Arp, Paris

I watched the webcast of Sophie last night with such admiration and pleasure. .. amazing vocal performances as well as the musical score - really exceptional, and many congratulations. I think it will be a great success… I can just say thanks, and many congratulations again and again. - Professor Brandon Taylor, University of Southampton / Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford  

I was so very happy to be present at Sophie on Saturday night. It was a triumph! I loved (the) music and as the uniting element of the singers, instrumental musicians, dancers, images of Sophie’s work and costumes, it was as if Sophie had been conjured in front of our eyes. I loved the final image of the heart-broken Jean with Sophie a perfect sphere, a perfect emblem of humanity, in front of him and us. - Shân Maclennan 

Anonymous:

What a fantastic production.The music was beautiful and I loved the different melodies running through. The singers’ voices were amazing and their performances truly echoed their feelings as they sang. I loved the instrumentation and the different ways in which the instruments were used at different moments to sound out the feelings of Sophie. The contortions of the dancers again reflected Sophie’s inner struggles. A combination of artists    talents used to involve and move us along every step of the way. WOW! 

 

I was impressed by the quality of the whole performance considering that there had only been four days of rehearsal... the musicians, the dancers, and the two singers were most impressive - especially the man who hardly referred to his copy of the score during his performance.  A wonderful voice contributed to a powerful overall performance 

 

I felt totally transported into another universe . The music coming from the particular instruments chosen was exquisite . I loved the combination of live orchestra , opera singers and dancers bringing Sophie's world to life. 

 

It was a truly beautiful, mesmerising and intellectually stimulating show of art and I cannot wait to see the complete production. 

For AMPHORA:-

The Musician Spring 2018 - chosen as a top pick favourite:-

'In 2017 composer Helen Caddick premiered Amphora, inspired by the key 20th century avant-garde figure Jean Arp. In the spirit of the artist's dadaist style, Amphora is a true collage of styles which deserves repeated listening.'

'The performance was stunning and made the whole evening very special. The combination of music, voice and dance worked beautifully. I found it powerful and moving.' - Eric Robertson October 2017 Curator of Arp: Poetry of Forms exhibition at Turner Contemporary October 2017 - January 2018.

‘This is the second piece of music that I have heard from Helen and each time I have been moved by her music, by the way it transcends me into another dimension. Rarely do I experience so much emotion in a piece of music, her ability to capture ‘pure emotion’ within the context of a beautiful structure is a very special talent. In her music she has truly captured the feminine dimension, which I rarely hear. We hear much music expressed through the ‘male’ perspective, but not often do we have the opportunity to hear the essence of the ‘feminine’ expressed through music. Her music transcends the ordinary into something quite magical with its ethereal, spiritual qualities’. – Susan Redgrave 18 October 2017

'I was entranced by the music and performance and transported by it. You came up with such an interesting and unique starting point and translated those ideas brilliantly.' - Emma Clarke 14 Oct 2017

'Amphora - a magnificent work. It was astounding.' - Moya Stirrup 12 Oct 2017

'A profoundly beautiful and deeply moving piece.' - Jo Tonkin 12 Oct 2017

'It was great to see the responses to Helen's fabulous work at Turner Contemporary today. Very impressive and powerful, evocative, modern and original.' - Lala Borja  14 Oct 2017

For HAZE:- 'You have miraculously captured so much of the feel of the Thanet coast, and of Turner’s response to it.' - Ian Warrell - November 2016 - Curator of JMW Turner: Adventures in Colour exhibition at Turner Contemporary October 2016 - January 2017

'HAZE is an amazing achievement. I have been listening to Haze in my car today as I journeyed across a rather dank Kent, recalling the images in the film and the narrative that drew the paintings together and continually uncovering new colours in the music'. - Jo Tonkin January 2017

Responses to a new performance of Helen Caddick's Haze at the Gulbenkian November 2019 - performed with the premiere of a new film by Phil Miller created in response to the music of Haze and the 5 JMW Turner artworks that inspired it:-

I am not terribly well informed about music generally and I have seen Turner's paintings but never felt terribly excited by them. I feel completely blown away by the event at the Gulbenkian. The documentary explaining Helen's process was fascinating and inciteful. As an Artist I could relate to her way of gathering quotes and melodies. Her responses and observation of Turner's paintings brought them alive for me and I loved the symbolic representation of colours to sounds from different instruments...The whole evening made a contemporary composition totally accessible. I thought I might not know enough to get it and I did have a wonderful uplifting enriching experience. When one experiences really good art, life is not the same afterwards. - Tracie Peisley. 

 

We did not know what to expect, we were curious to experience the interaction of film and contemporary music inspired by the watercolours of JMW Turner. The film cleverly introduced us to the composer’s thought processes and the conceptual ideas behind the selection of her five chosen watercolours by Turner. This introduction not only framed the whole event but helped the audience understand the context, history and influences. The film complimented the music beautifully and took the viewer on a visual narrative of the music and the watercolours. The music was rich, colourful, descriptive and as deeply elusive as are Turner’s watercolours. What we experienced was simply magical, thought provoking and inspirational. – Marilyn and Johnny Phipps

 

The music created a connection between the viewer and the painting. It was a strange experience because the music is what I expected the artwork to sound like. It made me feel nostalgic and emotional. The score heightened the experience of viewing the artwork. – anonymous audience member

for 'Between sleeping and waking...fleeting scenes from imaginary films':- '...marvellous, perfect in every way...so emotive and delicate and at the same time so assured and strong. I loved every single piece.'- Wendy Robinson

Helen's evocative piano playing gives rise to an innocent quietness. 'On a Summer's Evening' is a lovely piece, reminiscent of period drawing rooms. 'Love' meanwhile, is a touch darker and thoroughly more mature in its emphatic chords. The Musician Autumn 2015

helen caddick arrangements:

on ‘Something Like You’ from 'The Magical World of the Strands'

"Among the standouts is ‘Something Like You’, three and three-quarter minutes of languorous grace and charm. The string section floats along around the melody, neither carrying the song nor acting as unnecessary ornamentation” THE MAGICAL WORLD OF THE STRANDS - A GREAT LOST LIVERPOOL ALBUM

Steve Graves -  The Anfield Wrap // 9 January 2012 //TAW

“Try to listen to "Something Like You", the album’s best track... a tune from heaven and the best string arrangement I’ve heard since the Massive’s "Unfinished Sympathy". On reflection, perhaps the key to this album’s lush, comforting ambience is the way that Helen Caddick’s orchestrations treat the string quartet as a lead instrument; maybe that’s what makes it so timeless.”

Past archives – Shack

'The Magical World of the Strands' - (is) made up of “gorgeously illustrated songs … lushly orchestrated’ 'Something Like You', (is) so striking in (it’s) seductive, tenderness. The ghost of Drake is everywhere, floating in and hovering with the string section… outrageously large harmonic terrains" - Thom Jurek Allmusic review

"Sympathetic strings graze 'Something Like You' as it passes, never distracting the melody or dominating the mood. (The Magical World of the Strands is) an instrumentally beautiful record, totally idiosyncratic, rightly titled magical - alluding to a fantasy world beyond reality, or of heightened reality. 'Something like you' (is) liquid, sleepy, and impressionistic" megaupload.com + FANTASY blogspot

on ‘Here’s Tom with the Weather’ – track ‘Miles Apart’

“…the wistful "Miles Apart", bowls along on a near - 'Superfly' string score… this album will still be growing in beauty and stature years hence…” Past archives - Shack

" 'Miles Apart', one of the handful of tracks written by John Head, contains a gorgeous string arrangement alongside achingly plaintive vocals". Kate Lawrence - BBC Music review 2003

on 'Time Machine' (the)"strings give each of (Michael) Head's wry observations a swooning melancholy",...

Betty Clarke - the Guardian 21/12/07

on 'Time Machine' 'The hilights are many...their evolution towards a more textured, orchestrated sound on 2003's 'Here's Tome with the Weather' is emphatically captured on 'Mean't to Be' which employs scintillating mariachi brass and string sections that would not be out of place on Love's timeless masterpiece 'Forever Changes'. - Chris White BBC Music Review 2007