The music of Benjamin Brelain is music to be listened to, to sink into and be transported. Haunting melodies lead the listener into other worlds and speak to the heart of longing and loss, love and hope. Themes are developed and let go of, tracks overlaid to form a complexity reminiscent, in some ways, of a Renaissance painting. Like those artists of old, Benjamin uses contemporary techniques to cover classical and perennial themes. Similar to them also, is his attention to detail, and a willingness to go into the dark. His rich vocals also speak, with beauty and reverence, of classical concerns, whilst modern beats bring the listener back to the here and now.
Give yourself some time and space and see just where his musical creations take you.
Soon to be published, ‘Grey Spirit’, my musical setting of ’Ulysses’, the poem & monologue by Tennyson. It’s manifested itself as a twenty minute, five movement piece, with recurring themes and a variety of tempos. So pleased!
I’m pleased to announce the release this month of my sixth EP, THE THRESHOLD OF THE NEW. This contains three songs based on the 17th century poet Edmund Waller, the 19th century poet Walter Savage Landor, and lyrics of my own. There is also an instrumental coda or follow-on appearing at the end of the EP which develops musical ideas from the preceding song, Is It Right.
As promised a few visuals to go with one of my new tracks…and plenty of info about the lyrics below. (The oil painting is ‘The Billowing Seas’ by Ivan Aivazovsky 1889, and Philip Palmer took most of the photographs.)
The seventeenth century English poet and politician, Edmund Waller, provides the lyrics for this Benjamin Brelain interpretation of The Seas Are Quiet. By the time of writing, Waller was already an old man. His life was not without incident (or, as the poem puts it, ‘passion’). At the age of eighteen he entered parliament and in later years became, in addition, a notable poet. His poetry was set to music by one or two leading composers of the time. In the 1640′s he was accused of treason and faced the threat of being hung, drawn and quartered. He escaped this fate but was financially ruined and exiled to France. In his early seventies, his wife, some fifteen years his junior, died and he retreated (and bought back) the property where he had been born. As I understand it, it was in this moment that he wrote his meditation on life and the hear-after.
THE seas are quiet when the winds give o’er;
So calm are we when passions are no more.
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things, so certain to be lost.
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries.
The soul’s dark cottage, batter’d and decay’d,
Lets in new light through chinks that Time hath made:
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view
That stand upon the threshold of the new.
RADIO STATIONS broadcasting BB in 2013: Radio Andra (Sweden); Panama Rock Radio (Panama); KWSS (Phoenix, Arizona, USA) Radio Tircoed (Swansea, Wales); Krystal Radio (UK); Radio Positive Energy (Germany); Indie104-iRadio (Los Angeles, USA); Luver (Berkeley, USA); WROM Radio (Detroit, USA); Butterflies Radio (Miami, USA); Musictogousa (USA); Dreamscape Radio (USA); Deuce Radio (London,UK); Krocks Radio Seagull Radio (Netherlands); Pirate Radio (Florida, USA); Love Music FM (UK); KINT98 (Texas, USA); Dover Radio (Dover, England); KRMW; Cruise FM (UK); East Manchester Radio (Manchester, England); Eye Rocks Radio; QFR (Queensferry, Australia); Sitting Duck (Podcast. New Zealand); Air Radio England)... For the full list, click on 'Broadcasts' at the top of the page.
Taunton, UK. 13/04/2013
CREDITON FOLK FESTIVAL
Crediton, Devon, UK. 12/04/2013
Valetta, Independence Square, Malta. 29/09/2012 19.15- 20.15
The Council House, 1 Victoria Square, B1 1BD. 09/09/12 13.00 Free Admission
The Bandstand, Victoria Square, B1 1BD 09/09/12 16.30, part of the Cultural Olympiad (The Bandstand Marathon)
THE ULTIMATE FESTIVAL
Department of Education, Republic Street, Valetta, Malta.
01/06/2012 (Invite only)