Friday, 22 November 2019

Philippa Mo 'Classical Journey' Phonic FM 2pm Friday 22 November 2019

Violin: Philippa Mo
(Photography: Guy Carpenter)

Violin: Philippa Mo
(Photography: Guy Carpenter)

On Saturday 2 November this year Leo Geyer held the inaugural concert of his 'Devon Philharmonic Orchestra'. In addition to the sensual and evocative 'Lontano' by György Ligeti, and the mighty Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich, Leo and the orchestra had also prepared the Violin Concerto in A minor by Antonin Dvořák.

For the Concerto, Leo was able to call on the very skilled playing of a former musical collaborator, Philippa Mo.

Violin: Philippa Mo
(Photography: Guy Carpenter)

Philippa graduated from the Royal Academy of Music to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She has since returned to Beijing to teach - and given performances in Turkey, Kazachstan and even Mongolia.

Philippa has given the premiere performance of works specially composed for her by modern composers, including the founder of Nonclassical, Gabriel Prokofiev. On October 26th this year Philippa was in Anglesey to perform a special composition dictated by the shipping forecasts, "I bawb yn y môr", to commemorate the loss of 460 lives when the 'Royal Charter' was dashed to pieces on the east coast of Anglesey on 26 October 1859.

Philippa played for a similar memorial at the Tate St Ives on 9th April 2016. Exactly 40 years earlier the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden was created at the Tate, featuring her six sculpture suite, 'Guarea'. After the death of her son on an RAF mission in Thailand in 1953 Barbara took a trip to Greece and was inspired to create the six sculptures. They are all carved from the trunk of a single guarea tree from Nigeria.

Leo Geyer composed 'Guarea' to reflect the form and symbolism of three  - Delos, Corinthos & Delphi.

'Delos' is played on two strings, just as the sculpture extends from the two central piercings. 'Corinthos' is played on the bass string with 'woody' microtonal harmonics relating to the great mass and solidity of the sculpture. 'Delphi' responds to the lyre-like internal strings of the sculpture. The pizzicato sequence reworks the First Delphic Hymn - one of the earliest notated pieces of music.

We will have a chance to enjoy Gaurea on today's 'Classical Journey' programme, with commentary by Philippa herself. From the Leeds College of Music, Philippa will phone in to discuss this and many other projects. Her recordings of rarely heard works for two violins with Harriet MacKenzie (as the Rhetorica Duo) have featured on several programmes this year. She has also created several concert series. At Sladers Yard in Dorset Philippa performed the complete violin repertoire of Bach, and all the Telemann violin Fantasies.

There have now been ten '@Shortwave Nights' recitals involving Philippa's violin in duet with a wide range of musicians playing a variety of instruments - not to mention the countertenor voice of Will Towers. Today's show will also include recordings of Philippa playing Handel Sonata in A in London with guitarist (and arranger) Martin Fogel - and a recording made in Rio de Janeiro of 'Nightclub 1960' from 'L'Histoire du Tango' by Astor Piazzolla, and 'Praeludium and Allegro' (in the style of Gaetano Pugnani) by Fritz Kreisler arranged and played with Philippa on the marimba by Ronni Wenzell.

Classical Journey airs today, Friday 22 November, from 2-4pm on Phonic FM (106.8 FM and online at

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