How I Wrote... Speranza - Mark Anthony Turnage

After being performed by the LSO and Daniel Harding, Mark Anthony Turnage's uplifting piece, Speranza, premiered stateside at the end of October. Join us as we explore the inspiration behind the music...

Composer: Mark Anthony Turnage
 
Piece: Speranza
 
Date written: 2012
 
In a sentence or less, how would you describe the music to someone who's never heard it before?
Jazzy, lyrical and at times very loud and rhythmic.
 
How did the idea for the piece come about?
Originally Speranza was a gloomy piece about suicide, in memory of writers and poets who ended their life early. Then I turned the whole thing around and made the piece about hope, hence the title which means hope in Italian. And is now dedicated to my two youngest children Milo and Amelie.
 
Did you have a musical 'EUREKA!' moment where everything fell into place, or did the piece gradually shift and change over time?
I never have a EUREKA moment. I don't think many composers do and if they say they do they're probably telling fibs. I just work over and over until I get it right. I hope.
 
Is there a musical moment in the piece you're most proud of?
I'm never proud but I'm pleased I used a Duduk, which is a sort of Armenian oboe often heard on film soundtracks. It features in the 2nd movement of Speranza and is very plaintive and sad.
 
What's been your favourite performance of the music?
So far it's only been played by the LSO but will get its US premiere with the Boston Symphony orchestra later this month, both with Daniel Harding conducting.
 
If you could hear anyone admit they're a huge fan of the piece, who would it be?
The actor Bryan Cranston from the hit US series 'Breaking Bad'.
 
Where was the premiere and how did you feel hearing the piece for the first time?
The premiere was at the Barbican concert hall in London. It was an amazing performance by the LSO and Daniel Harding. I loved working with them. I wasn't nervous as I knew my piece was on safe hands.

Turnage talks about Speranza - Video