Richard Alston celebrates Benjamin Britten in 2013 winter tour
The programme will include brand new piece Holderlin Fragments alongside reworkings of older pieces
The centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth has prompted celebrations in concert halls and theatres across the globe. But one man who never needs an excuse to work with the music of the late British composer, is Richard Alston. ‘I’ve always had a passion for Britten’s music,’ says Alston. ‘I discovered it when I was a young boy, and it’s always been very special to me. But I was quite surprised to realise recently that I’ve choreographed more of his music than any other composer.’
In total, Alston has created seven works to Britten’s music, three of which will be performed in Scotland this autumn. Both Lachrymae and Illuminations have been re-worked since their creation in the mid-90s and, as Alston says, benefit from increased wisdom. ‘I love working on earlier pieces because – if it’s not being too immodest – I feel I know more now,’ he says. ‘I like being able to dig deeper and get some new life. We don’t just re-produce what was there before.’
Brand new piece Holderlin Fragments, set to Britten’s work of the same name, will premiere in London this November before heading to Glasgow (Edinburgh audiences will have to wait until next year to see it: instead, the Festival Theatre line-up is completed by joyous ragtime-inspired The Devil in the Detail).
Both cities, however, will benefit from Martin Lawrance’s sensual duet, Brink, set to Japanese tango music. As the only other choreographer to ever feature in the Alston repertoire, long-time company dancer turned rehearsal director, Lawrance shares his mentor’s love of music. ‘Martin brings an edgier language than me, but he makes dance that is so closely linked to music, so it’s not a culture shock for our audiences,’ says Alston. ‘For me, it’s wonderful to work with a choreographer and help them find their own voice. And Martin certainly has his own voice.’
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 22 Oct; Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 15 Nov.