KRA-Week 2013-8: Historical Music – The Orpheus Project

 
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King Richard III & Music

 

An interview with MaryAnn & Michael Tedstone

 

The Orpheus Project

 


 
 
Peter Warzynski in his interview (25.08.2013) gave us so insightful background information about Leicester and the euphoria about finding King Richard III there.
 
What better method is there to express happiness and joy than in music?
So I am very happy to present a Leicester based team of composers, MaryAnn & Michael Tedstone, with their group
 

The Orpheus Project

 
The two composers, MaryAnn & Michael Tedstone, brother and sister, are famous for their film music and their successful effort to combine old traditions with new musical elements.
They embrace the history and time of King Richard III and present musical elements and lyrics he might have known or heard himself in their new recording:
 

“The Last Plantagenet”

 
 
To tease you a bit with the wonderful music, here is a sample of “The Last Plantagenet”.
 

 
And I can assure you, it is worth having a look around the websites of the composer team, as their diverse music really is a joy and has a wide bandwidth of styles. I already spent quite a while on their websites and listened to their wonderful music:

 
But now, I let them tell you themselves about their music and creative ideas behind “The Last Plantagenet”:
 
 


 
 
How did the group “The Orpheus Project” come into existence and when?

The Orpheus Project came into existence in 2011, when we recorded an Album of Ancient Greco Roman music. We wanted to create an ensemble made up of musicians who are experts in their fields but do not have traditional early music training. I think that early music can be over stylised and I wanted the music to have a natural feel. I felt that by making a new ensemble and having a new look at how music is written and created, we could provide a refreshingly new sound to different periods of music.

 
Who composes / arranges / selects music / chooses, researches and finds texts / trains the group / records the music?

MaryAnn does most of the composition/arranging music selection and trains the group.
Michael records and produces the music. One of the things that makes The Orpheus Project unique is that we have our own industry standard studio. we are used to writing music and recording it for projects all over the world so it’s easy for us to make albums. We don’t have to worry about studio time and finding a good producer. We have one of the best music producers right here with us.

 
What is the background of your group and your individual musicians?

MaryAnn Tedstone studied Early music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Philip Pickett.
Michael Tedstone studied music production at Alchemea College of music.
Glenn Sharp is a world music musician who play with the Jadid ensemble and is signed to Universal Music.
We use a variety of other musicians and vocalists who are experts in their fields. Each period calls for different instruments so it’s hard to give further information

 
Are your musicians only perform in this group or also individually or in other groups or ensembles?

Our musicians regularly play in other ensembles. Its what keeps us fresh and excited about what we do.

 
Why was this name chosen for the group? What connection does your group have to the Greek mythology?

When Orpheus called to his father Apollo, he did so on a golden lyre. I have always wondered what the music was that called the God Apollo down to Earth to help his son Orpheus. The Orpheus Project seemed like a good name. Our first Album was of Greco Roman music too. It also combines old and new which is what The Orpheus Project is all about.

 
Is your group mainly doing recordings or performing life?

The group does both live recordings and performs live.
Our next performance is for Leicester City Council where we are playing at a banquet.

 
I saw in the information, that you Ms Tedstone, are mainly composing film music and soundtracks for movie and film productions and advertisements. Is this also the direction of “The Orpheus Project” or to what purpose was this group created?

The Orpheus Project was intended to write music for historic documentaries and tv programmes but has become so much more due to the level of interest that we have received.

 
Why the title “The Last Plantagenet” for your CD? It gives already an interpretation of the events surrounding King Richard III’s demise in the Battle of Bosworth as well as the legitimacy of his royal succession. Is that intended or a reference to the last Plantagenet King on the throne of England or not an exact reference to King Richard III at all?

The album the Last Plantagenet is a reference to King Richard III. This album is music that he either might have heard, or music that has been specially composed in the style of the period.

 
What connection does the music have with King Richard III and are the music pieces new arrangements of old music or new arrangements ‘in-the-style-of’?

The Orpheus Project albums are intended to be a soundscape of what someone living in the period might have heard. For example our album SPQR is a representation of what Nero might have listened to.

 
Where do the texts / lyrics come from? E.g. the French text of the piece “Douce Dame”.

The Texts are all original. There are two by Dufay and One from Machaut.

 
If they are historic texts, would they be something Richard III could have had access to?

Yes we think King Richard III might have heard Douce Dame.

 
What image of King Richard III does the music promote?
(e.g. Richard III as courtier, as religious person of his time, as entertainment and music loving noble of his time,…)

I hope that the music makes you think that if King Richard III was riding through the streets of Leicester he might have heard something like our music playing in the street or in a pub.

 
What is your / your group’s connection to King Richard III?

We became interested in King Richard III when his body was found in a car park in Leicester and we started researching the music straight away.

 
What determined your choice of instruments in your group?

Not every travelling troupe of musicians would have had every instrument available to them. I felt that the lute and the hurdy gurdy were expensive instruments and so we should have only one. We chose lute. We have thought about what would happen to instruments when musicians of the period slept in fields or woods in between towns and we think that would have been really bad for all the instruments. Hopefully they put them in wooden cases.

 
Will your group get any official involvement in the ceremonies around King Richard III’s reburial next year?

We are officially involved with Leicester council. They are selling our CD in the museum and promoting us as much as they can. The re-burial is a church event and I have no idea at this stage how much involvement we will have.

 
What are your / your groups next plans for recordings? Is there more in store for all Richard III and late 15th century music fans?

We are thinking of looking at Robin Hood next which is not too far away from King Richard III. Stay tuned on our website www.orpheusproject.co.uk for more details.

 
Now that is good news for all Richard Armitage fans. Hopefully Sir Guy of Gisborne gets an extra place and special representation in the new music-project.
 
 
We will also keep you informed when the music of “The Last Plantagenet” will become available on iTunes in September 2013.
 
So far, you can order the CD version – £ 9,99 (PayPal payments accepted) – via alex@manikemusic.com.
(Please get in contact for delivery rates, though they are very decent and partially free of charge and the CD is sent out worldwide.)
 
 
 

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