Listen to and watch the World premiere recording of Remembering, the powerful new work by Mark-Anthony Turnage's, out now on LSO Live. Jointly commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra - with support from Susie Thomson - Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker and Boston Symphony Orchestra, critics have called it one of Turnage best new orchestral works.
Sir Simon Rattle has long been a champion of the composer’s music and was the catalyst behind the commission, his first since becoming LSO Music Director. Turnage wrote the work for Evan Scofield, the son of his friend and colleague, jazz guitarist John Scofield, who tragically died of sarcoma aged only 26. The piece captures his positive and adventurous spirit with an energetic, pulsating figure, seesawing from double basses to high brass, igniting the work. Tonal and melodic sections juxtapose the taut rhythmic patterns and fateful, drum-heavy, climactic sounds. On Rattle’s request, it features no violins. The dark hues of the violas proving perfect for such an emotionally powerful work. Remembering is now available to stream and download from all major digital music services. As well as listening, you can also watch the January performance in full on Apple Music.
‘we found it immensely powerful and affecting, and with this fantastic honesty that all Mark’s music has. When he is telling you such a strong message, you really get it.’ Sir Simon Rattle
After Evan's death, his ashes were scattered across the world by family and friends, as his mother Susan describes:
'When death was suddenly looming as an impossible possibility and he described the teary doctor, I half jokingly asked what he wanted me to do with his body. “Not my body, my ashes,” he said. “Scatter me.” Even though he was fully confident that he yet could beat the odds, he indulged me this conversation, this plan. We only discussed it once – just that day and never again. I suggested that I could cast him off the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge in Ireland but he said no. He asked me to take him to Scotland. He and I had talked of a trip together to that land of the Vikings and peat. He had never been there and he wanted to go with me. If I would put him in a bog, he said, perhaps he could eventually be a part of someone’s Scotch. Though he was barely a drinker, sipping the occasional Scotch was one of his many happy pleasures.'
I was the only person to receive specific instructions. Other than me, he wanted Ursula, family members John, Jean and Alex and friends Jake, Oliver, Marc and Sam to make journeys. He asked that they take him to places they loved together or had wanted to go together or even just a place that Evan wanted to go but hadn’t made it to yet. They would know or we would know. He hoped they could take a trip that did as much for them as it would have meant to him. He wanted his death to afford them a meaningful memory and a personal way to say goodbye. He gave us the authority to arrange additional family and friend Scatter events as we saw fit, several involving overlapping groups.
The piece grew from a short piano study, written shortly after Evan’s death, which Turnage developed into the elegy that forms the achingly beautiful final movement. Although written for Evan, Turnage was also moved by the loss of several other friends and colleagues in recent years. This spurred him on to run the 2017 London Marathon in aid of the charity Brain & Spine, completing the gruelling course in a great time and raising almost £10,000 in the process. Watch him talk more about the orgins of the piece below:
***** ‘Remembering is large enough to be appreciated on its own terms...So melodically profligate a work may reflect the character to whom it pays generous tribute.’ The Arts Desk
Performed for the first time in January 2017, you can now watch the world premiere performance on Apple Music and discover interviews with Turnage and Rattle. Sir Simon Rattle will take Remembering to Germany on June 21 and you can watch his performance with the Berlin Philharmonic live via The Digital Concert Hall on Saturday June 24.