This recording is Julian Jacobsen’s intensely expressive and exacting performance from 2007 (Turner Sims Concert Hall).
This was the first piece I completed during my Masters study with Michael Finnissy; it was on the basis of this piece that I was chosen for the SPNM Shortlist (2006-9).
The final form of the piece was decided in a tremendous flurry, the afternoon of the deadline for the SPNM shortlist applications. I sat in the library with a photocopy of the piece in its original binary form, and went at it with glue and scissors, intercutting (literally!) the material from the A and B sections.
The Jayne of the title refers to my friend Jayne Winter.
Standing Stones, Mapless Land: I was inspired to write this piece after an afternoon hunting “cromlechau” (standing stones) in coastal Pembrokeshire with my father. I was struck by the sheer openness of the hillsides we were walking on above Newport, and the excitement of trying to follow our OS map as we stalked across this landscape, hoping to find the stones marked on the page.
Oddly enough, the two folk songs I use in the piece are not Welsh or even from these isles: they are transcribed from recordings of Albanian and Bulgarian folk singing. The folk songs represent “man”, enveloped in the landscape of the surrounding music. Another odd and entirely intuitive choice was to place the double bass as a quasi-soloist in the centre of the group: harmonically, I was trying to create a kind of upside-down or rootless music, making the double bass an active and primary voice in the music. I think the size of the instrument, to my sub-conscious mind, also evoked the shape and size of the cromlechs that one finds in Celtic Pembrokeshire.
This piece was composed for the Forum London Chamber Symphony, for a workshop with my teacher Michael Finnissy. I subsequently had a chance to revise the piece, and hear them perform it in concert and make a recording of the piece. The group is an amateur ensemble, but very committed to contemporary music, and extremely generous with their time, being willing as they were to rehearse, workshop, perform and record our compositions. It really was a fantastic learning experience– one which I wish more so-called “education projects” could learn from.
Aulodia Piccola means “Little flute song”. I wrote this piece for the inaugural concert of the Southampton University Contemporary Music Group in 2008. I conducted the premiere in March of that year, in the Turner Sims concert hall, Southampton. There are four instrumental groups, arranged in different spaces on the stage: the quartet of wind instruments stand in the middle and perform their canon, while two other groups (one with piano and marimba, the other with miscellaneous instruments) provide a “continuo”. A fourth group of viola and trumpet appear late in the piece, and play a reminiscence of the canonic material.
I’m just in love with these singers’ voices! I’m in the throes of slightly revising the score, but I put this up here for the time being, as I still find it a powerful piece.The text alternates between what was purportedly the dying Emperor Hadrian’s last poem, “Animula, blandula, vagula”, set in the original Latin, and extracts from Isaiah chapters 43-44, set in the King James version. The style of the music follows the switches between the two texts. Hadrian’s pathetic evocation of the soul, sliding into the shadowy underworld, is set to crystalline and rigourously systematic atonal music, while for the Isaiah text I used more flowing and diatonic music.
Little Soul, little wandering, little caressing soul,
Guest and comrade of the body!
Into what places do you go now,
A little cold, a little stiff, a little naked.
And no longer you’ll make your accustomed jests.
Isaiah (43.19, 44.4)
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.
And they shall spring up [as] among the grass, as willows by the water[s]…
Il Ritorno d’Ulisse al Suo Letto. For chamber ensemble. Written for the Southampton University Contemporary Music Group in 2009. Premiered in the Turner Sims Concert Hall.
This score is now lost, sadly- but I rather like the way the piece sounded, so I’m putting it up here. The title comes from Moteverdi’s opera, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, a work which powerfully impressed me back in 2009, although none of the music relates to Monteverdi, as far as I can recall.
An early work, in which I explore unsychronised parts– there is no score for this piece, rather, the three performers play their music at independent tempi and count their rests in seconds, without reference to the other two. As the title suggests, I focused on characterising the three individual instruments as much as possible, as if three completely different portraits hung side-by-side on a wall.
This was my first ever “professional” performance: I answered a call for works by the group Sounds Underground, and was delighted that they chose my piece.
Barcarole: A little piece composed in Taiwan, Summer of 2010, and performed at Druskomanija 2010.
Anna Veismane, piano and pianica, Timo Kinnunen, accordion,
Europa Royale Hotel, Druskininkai, Lithuania, 30th May 2010
钢琴、口风琴：Anna Veismane、手风琴：Timo Kinnunen, 立陶宛德鲁斯科宁凯“Europa Royale”酒店，2010年5月30日