Cracked Voices

Content supplied by Graham Palmer Cracked Voices.

Cracked Voices is a new sixty-minute song cycle centred on South Cambridgeshire and North Hertfordshire, funded by the Arts Council of England and the PRS Foundation. Based on Graham Palmer’s original research, this ‘incredible project’ (Cambridge105) gives voice to forgotten characters from the borderlands of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. It focuses on the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.

From Servandus waiting on his lost Celtic goddess at Ashwell, to the POWs celebrating Hitler’s birthday on Therfield Heath. From James Lucas’s confrontation with Charles Dickens to Joyce Hatto’s scandalous recordings.

Set to music by Cambridgeshire composer Jenni Pinnock, the songs feature a tangle of quirky time signatures and memorable lines, focusing heavily on nature and the world around us.

Cracked Voices will premiere at Anglia Ruskin University on 10 March 2018, with performers Ian Beadle (baritone), Donna Lennard (soprano), Sue Pettitt (clarinet) and Ralph Woodward (piano).  

Benefit concert
Cracked Voices will also be performed at a benefit concert on 28 April 2018. Organised and hosted by the Methodist Church (Royston),ticket money will go to aid the MindEd Trust, a teenage mental health charity set up in memory of local teenager Edward Mallen. This concert will culminate with the premiere of ‘Cracked Objects’ (art songs written by year 10 pupils from Meridian School  under the guidance of Graham Palmer and Jenni Pinnock).

Pop-up talks
Free pop-up talks featuring the stories behind individual songs will take place at Royston Museum on Saturday 24 February and the Sedgwick Museum (Cambridge) on Saturday 3 March.

The creators of Cracked Voices
Graham Palmer – Researcher/Writer

Starting in the small press world of the 1980s, Graham co-founded Stride Magazine – one early reviewer commenting, ‘Palmer has the impressive gift of word economy, using a stark interplay of image and lyric to produce poems of depth and beauty.’

Since then he has dabbled with journalism and reviewing, written an ‘incisive’ study-guide on the Hound of the Baskervilles (so says the Sherlock Holmes Society of London) and published three books on writing for language-learners with Cambridge University Press, one of which was chosen by the English Language Gazette as their ‘Book of the Month’.

His original research featured in the centennial Book of the Old Edinburgh Club and the creation of myths, how the past informs or misinforms the present, has been one of his consistent themes. In addition to Cracked Voices, he is currently working on a historical biography. 

Jenni Pinnock – Composer

British composer Jenni Pinnock’s music has been described as ‘refreshing’, ‘imaginative’ and ‘tantalizingly beautiful in smoothness and soul’. Quirky time signatures, soaring melodies and moments of quiet stillness can all be found within her music which has received performances both across the UK and around the world. She is passionate about music in all forms, and loves writing for and collaborating with artists and musicians – be they beginners, amateurs or seasoned professionals. Giving performers the artistic freedom to make the music their own is an important element of her work.

Jenni studied at Kingston University and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. In recent years she has had works performed by the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, Red Note Ensemble, the Quangle Wangle Choir and Equinox Voices. In 2017 she also had her carol Christmas Bells recorded by the Kantos Chamber Choir for their Silver Stars at Play album. Alongside composing she runs music and composition workshops, performs with local ensembles and teaches piano and woodwind.

In addition to Cracked Voices, Jenni is part of the composing team working on Ada Lovelace: the musical. She is also a mentor for Making Music’s Adopt a Composer scheme.  


Cracked Voices

Saturday 10th March at 7.30pm

Saturday 28th April at 7.30pm

The premiere will take place in the Music Recital Hall of Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. The second performance will be held at Royston Methodist Church, Queens Road, Royston.

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