Transit: Pulp & Rags: The Grand Finale

War & Peace

Transit: Pulp & Rags: the Grand Finale concert, marking the end of our War & Peace programme, was performed in Dover Town Hall on 11 October 2013 to great applause. The War & Peace project involved 20 artists, of which seven were commissioned to create new work. The concert presented world premieres of 3 new works by Composer Nigel Clarke, Writer Malene Sheppard Skaerved and Painter Joanna Jones, within a programme devised by Violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved who also directed the Longbow musicians. Programme details are to be found at the bottom of this page in a beautiful piece of graphic work by Edda Jones.

Over this past year, a writer, a composer, a violinist, and a painter have explored ideas washing over the ancient and modern town of Dover. When we began this project, it was not clear what the outcome would be; we just let impressions, ideas, colours, smells and tastes ebb and flow around us. When this floodtide receded, we found a new poem, a new piece of music, a new painting-as-film, and this concert programme, which reaches out to the past by including music by Niccolo Paganini and Ole Bull, who spent time in Dover in the 19th Century, and to the present with music by Dafina Zeqiri and Mihailo Trandafilovski, reflecting Dover’s reach to the Balkan States. When another tide has passed, our impressions will be replaced, by other treasures on the high-water mark: so much flows to and from this extraordinary place.” (Nigel Clarke, Malene Sheppard Skærved, Joanna Jones, Peter Sheppard Skærved)

Peter has posted write-ups and recordings on his website: click here.

The Town Mayor of Dover gave an impromptu speech at the end which summed up the emotions and excitement felt by players, artists and audience alike. A sense of the evening can also be had through this video by Miles Umney.

Some words from the performers:

  • I cannot begin to say how wonderful it is to work with such creative and JOYFUL musicians. It’s the only way – rehearsals which alternate detail-laughter-experimentation-more laughter-score work-laughter (Peter Sheppard Skaerved)
  • what I was particularly proud of was that act of writing which lay at the heart of the concert. It was clear to me, as I read Malene’s poem, that there was recognition all around the room, that the lyricism of the piece was the result of her ability to listen to the voices around us, past and present, natural and man-made, and free of hierarchies and importance… (Peter Sheppard Skaerved)
  • An astonishing evening at the Maison Dieu, Dover. Mihailo Trandafilovski’s Diptych, with a film of Joanna Jones’s glorious painting made by Dominc de Vere, Malene Sheppard Skaerved and Nigel Clarke’s glorious poem and string orchestral work ‘Dogger Fisher German Bight …’.  (Peter Sheppard Skaerved)
  • COMPOSERS OWE SO MUCH TO SO MANY in Dover last night!
    I am privileged to have been part of a once-in-a-lifetime concert-event and collaboration last night as part of Dover Arts Development. Ensemble `Longbow’ performed my new work for string orchestra “Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight”, as well as an evocative poem written to go alongside the piece by writer Malene Sheppard Skaerved – the poem and the music for ever-now joined at the hip! Peter Sheppard Skaerved performed a colourful and descriptive violin work by Kosovan composer Defina Zeqiri. Milhailo Mihailo Trandafilovski had his string master-work `Diptych’ performed to a backdrop film showing powerful paintings by Dover artist Joanna Jones. What was most special about this concert experience was the commitment given by the energised musicians of Longbow led by Peter Sheppard Skaerved (the composers champion!). It is beyond any words that I am capable of writing to describe last night’s experience. Thank you to everyone that was part of this event! Art really is for everyone as last night proved! (Nigel Clarke)
  • Melene’s poem was full of TRUTH, not mere rhetoric – You mention Peter, “her ability to listen to the voices around us”, Melene had even picked up on some small throw-away remark I had made about the weather on the Kent coast – IT WAS IN THERE! I am looking forward to her work with Sadie Harrison – I know it has the potential to be a very special collaboration indeed. (Nigel Clarke)
  • what a fantastic project and event! Peter, thank you, as ever for bringing me in touch with such amazing people. Nigel, Joanna and Milene – heartfelt congratulations for contributing such creativity and atmosphere with your art/music/poetry – being a total stranger to Dover before this event, I really felt this event conveyed a wonderful sense about the place. (Mihailo Tradafilovski)
  • An amazing event (Malene Sheppard Skaerved)
  • Was lovely playing with you on Friday in Dover. It definitely came together and alive in the space during performance and was a nice change of pace from the London audiences that we are probably all used to. Hopefully there will be more again soon! (Preetha Narrayanan)
  • It was awesome. (Tanya Sweiry)
  • What an incredible experience, everything just came together surpassing all expectation! Thank you all the players of Longbow for bringing all the wonderful works to life. This concert has left a buzz in Dover inspiring a wonderfully diverse audience from across a wide demographic. As Dover Arts Development and as one of the artists I want to thank everyone who played a part in this amazing Dover concert. It has been wonderful to be part of such an incredible synergy. (Joanna Jones)

Audience responses:

  • I am still floating from Friday from a seriously excellent night. I want to see and hear it all again….! Congratulations on a fantastic finish to your project war and peace. You’re 2 great women and I’m honoured to work near/with you. (Kate Beaugie)
  • Congratulations. 

    What a fantastic evening (Ian Ross)

  • An entrancing evening – visually and musically stunning! (Steve Coates)
  • That was some show there tonight. (Paul Pellay)
  • It really was a tremendous evening. I had the privilege of being both audience and performer and both experiences were unforgettable! Mihailo and Nigel, you are quite wonderful composers – Maline – your poetry is utterly beautiful and Joanna – wow!! (Morgan Goff)
  • Wonderful evening. Luminous and wonderful. Well done! (Kate Kneale)
  • Overwhelmed to be keeper of #126 of 324piece of Joanna Jones Re-Veil-Le. Transit Pulp &Rags – an electrifying masterpiece (Kate Kneale)
  • Brilliant evening with a full and enthusiastic audience and a very remarkable set of performers. (Cllr Kit Smith and Pat Smith)
  • Sheila and I were most impressed by the concert – congrats. We will go to sleep with the sound of the sea in our ears (Jeremy Cope)
  • Perfection in action! (Caroline Latham)
  • That was amazing. Thank you @DoverArts & everyone involved for such an incredible Ode to Dover. (Clair Hawkins)
  • it was inter- stellar … and I can still hear the little wavelets lapping at my mind. (Simon Partridge)
  • It was wonderful! The poem was beautiful, the music elevating, the film transfixing. DAD, thank you so much for bringing such creative, inspiring performances to this little town! (Petra Matthews Crow)
  • I never thought that violins could do so much! (Nicola Dunsbee)
  • Such a lovely concert on Friday. Thanks!! (Jane Clegg)
  • I think the event was a huge success-congratulations to all concerned! (Colin Still)
  • Listening to Colin’s recording and thinking about how delightful last Friday’s event was. Nigel’s piece was hugely moving, and Joanna’s images looked wonderful in conjunction with Mihailo’s piece. As I was looking at the film I was imagining an alien landscape through which translucent organic forms were moving. Congratulations. It really was a crowning achievement. (Fern Bryant)
  • Congrats to @DoverArts concert: Transit-Pulp & Rags, part of its War & Peace programme. Quality #community event (Port of Dover)
  • Your “Baroque concert” (to me it was) is what Dover wants more of – the evening was great, Congratulations and thank you.( Margarete Bundy)
  • I was absolutely blown away by the concert on 11th October. I’m so glad I came (and brought Steve Coates). It was wonderful – not rags but riches. I was spellbound and enjoyed every single second. The musicians were first class. The evolution of your painting Joanna, with Mihailo’s music, was perfect. We have yet to frame our souvenirs Nigel’s composition and Malene’s poetry completed a sumptuous smorgasboard of music, art & the spoken word. Thank you to Peter Sheppard-Skaerved for guiding us through the evening with such style. And thanks to Ronnie, Mr Mayor for her impromptu, heartfelt speech. She put into words what we all felt, that we were fortunate to be in the audience that night. More please! (Mel Lloyd)

Photos by Miles Umney