Premiere of Rapture
by Kerry Milan
Sunday 30th September I attended the premiere of Stafford based composer, Kerry Milan.
Kerry has previously collaborated with one of my favourite Opera singers, namely Yvonne
Howard and I was keen to see his latest composition performed by my best loved
recital was a celebration of Staffordshire music and poetry and a chance to bring together
three formidable singing talents all of whom spent their formative years in Stafford.
Dame Professor Carol Ann Duffy grew up in Stafford as did Yvonne Howard, international
opera singer and Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. Kerry Milan is a Stafford based
composer, violinist and teacher. Edward Robinson won the inaugural Staffordshire Young
Singer of the year in 2013 and has been studying at the Royal Northern College of Music
and Alice Dix won the same prize in 2015 and is at Leeds Conservatoire.
Milan studied violin at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama with Louis Carus
(and Margaret Evans for piano), then in Brussels with Maurice Raskin, and later privately
with David Martin. He is a Fellow of Trinity College London, and an Associate of London
University Institute of Education.
Staffordshire Young Singer of the year competition was founded in memory of John W R
Taylor, former Staffordshire County Director of Music and is supported by FOSYM. Tickets
for sale will be limited to 80. The event is supported by Kerry Milan, FOSYM, North-West
Midlands Music Education Hub and Entrust Music Inspiring Futures Service Staffordshire.
programme opened with the wondrous sound of Baritone, Edward Robinson and Soprano, Alice
Dix. Between them they performed a variety of pieces from Henri Duparc, Schumann,
Schubert, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Korngold, Debussy, George
Butterworth and Mozart. The duet from Mozarts Don Giovanni was the
highlight of this particular section, the pair sang La Ci darem la mano beautifully and
their interaction was superb.
the interval we received the World Premiere of Rapture and it was astounding to
hear Carol Ann Duffys poetry put to music as Yvonne Howard accompanied
by pianist, Dr Roy Wightman, melodically led us through 20 of Duffys poems
from her 2005 book of poems. Yvonne was extraordinary, giving heart, soul and character to
the song cycle. The selected order of poems followed in a sensical way, each appearing to
blend with the one before it. Carol Ann Duffys poems have often appeared
lyrical to me and to hear them performed in such a manner was a real eye opener in the
very best sense. Just a few of the poems in the cycle are: River, Row, Give, Grief, Night
Marriage ad one of my personal favourites, The Love Poem. Kerry Milan has composed
an exquisitely fitting tribute to the penmanship of one of Staffords most
celebrated writers and in doing so hes gained a new fan
. me! I believe that Rapture
has been recorded and copies will be available, so watch this space