Martland Memorial: A tribute to Steve Martland


Colin will be giving the US premiere of Turnage Martland Memorial with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä on 14-16 March at the Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The concert on 15 March will be broadcast live on Classical MPR. He will then perform the piece with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins at Glasgow City Halls on 25 April and the concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 3 June.

Colin writes:

With the upcoming performances of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Martland Memorial, it is time once again to remember one of my dearest and closest musical mentors, British composer Steve Martland. Turnage’s concerto is affectionate, quirky, eerie and tenderly poignant. It portrays someone both of us loved and admired, someone we couldn’t get nearly enough of, and who then died suddenly in May 2013, aged 58.

Steve was a perfect one-off; kind, witty, fabulously opinionated and riddled with incendiary paradox. His unblinking altruism, sense of morality, community values and inclusion put him way ahead of his peers and time, yet these attributes also frequently left him vulnerable. My student years were defined by his influence and encouragement, and when he appointed me in his ensemble (“I need you for The Band”) he introduced me to a whirlwind world of scintillating gigs, foreign tours, and the freshly forming composers Dave Maric and Joe Duddell (both also under his wing).

Steve loved to talk music, and for years I also borrowed copiously from his bookshelves, which never failed. He was very fond of Purcell, Tippett, much (but not all) contemporary American tonal music and certain strands of pop. He was close with the British jazz maverick Mike Westbrook and he had periodic love/hate struggles with opera of all eras. Beethoven and Stravinsky were in heaven and Louis Andriessen (in turn, his mentor) walked stylishly on this earth.

This playlist features music that I discovered via Steve and of which he was fond. It also includes his own vocal work Jenny Jones as well as Turnage Dispelling the Fears which inhabits a Martlandesque world of expression.

I miss him very much. For his kindness, for his flaws, he was the best of friends. He emboldened me to pursue what was dearest to me in music, and without this engendered freedom, I might never have become a soloist.

In Memoriam Martland - Martland Memorial.