Flex for AR released on CD

I was delighted to receive some copies of Alex Raineri’s new double-CD, Inventions, with my short piano piece flex for AR opening the second disc. Alex has recently been playing the piece around the world, and his performance on the new CD is stunning. As soon as he has an online point of sale I will add the link to the Recordings list. The other works on the discs are by James Ledger, Corrina Bonshek, Samantha Wolf, Samuel Smith, and Liam Flenady, who also wrote the eponymous piece for the Kupka’s Piano Braneworlds CD.

in Chasm City for 7-string guitar—compostela/finisterre for large organ

It has been a while since new scores were posted on this site. However, the scores of my newly-minted guitar piece in Chasm City, and 2005-6 organ work compostela/finisterre are now available for download.

in Chasm City was written for the American guitarist Mark Wilson, who wanted new repertoire for his 7-string classical guitar. His instrument additionally has 24 frets on the first two strings and I have made a certain amount of use of these extra frets, but 19-fret ossias are provided for all such material, including an alternative 19-fret version of page 1. The piece draws its imagery from Chasm City, an exotic urban environment that features in the marvellous Revelation Space novels of Alastair Reynolds.

compostela/finisterre was written in 2005-6 and premiered by the great Kevin Bowyer. However, as with so many of my works, time had not allowed of properly finishing the piece and I was acutely aware that the version from 2006 was an incomplete rendering of the work’s structure. Consequently, I sat down in 2008-9 and wrote the final nine pages of score (39-56 in the A4 version now posted) taking the player deep into intergalactic space. I think the work is much improved in this longer format—it is approximately 19 minutes now, up from the 13 minutes of the first version. The second half of the score is fully copied but the first 19 pages (1-38, ditto) remain in my scruffy next-to-last-sketch format. Eventually they too will be recopied, but I think they are legible enough to pass for the time being.

I should point out that compostela/finisterre does not represent any lessening of my rejection of supernaturalism of any kind, religious or otherwise. As the program note says: “While this [title] might … seem eminently appropriate for an instrument as ecclesiastical as the organ, I had a rather less pious vision as I wrote the piece. Compostela has always reminded me of the night sky, of our view of the galaxy; the ‘Milky Way’ was the nickname for the Roman trade route that became the Camino, famously referred to in Buñuel’s film about the pilgrimage route, la Voie Lactée. And beyond the galactic rim, the finis terrae, is the intergalactic void, the dark night of souls far vaster than our own”.

Both works have durations around the 19 minute mark.

Musica Kaleidoskopea

I was recently approached by David Leone to provide a text for his interesting blog Musica Kaleidoskopea. The rather curious suite of questions he provided enabled me to be more expansive than usual; in particular I wrote a few lines about my use of form (question 3). It can be found here.

It was an odd exercise in that the more personal I found myself getting, the less I could take myself seriously. So, in case you find yourself wondering, the tone is intendedly ironic.