The Materials & The Calm Work
20/01/10 15:45 Filed under: New Music
How and when do you know when something you have created is finished? Is it when someone else, a stranger perhaps, is impressed by it? Is it when the client who asked you to make it is satisfied? The problem lies in the fact that anything you make could be improved upon, it can send you mind around the bend as you analyse all the details trying to make your ideas ‘economical’, trying to be ‘clever’ about things, all the while attempting to follow your instincts and not over-think things, even though that is exactly what you’re doing...
This is what its like to work in a vacuum. When there’s no client or boss to tell you the job is done, when the only goal is to effectively express yourself, when there are no limitations to guide you. I need to get better at this.
Anyway, enough of that. I have finished the short little LCO piece, and have just now sent this demo off. It is in the hands of fate whether it gets picked for performance in March - they may not like it for many reasons, but I feel satisfied that I have responded to the brief in my *own* way, aside from the desire to spend the rest of eternity polishing it up and fixing little details, I think it’s more or less there. The only thing I’m not happy about is the instrumentation (chamber orchestra) and the fact that technology is forbidden (I mean, really?). It was inspired by “the Frame House” - a home design and built by architect Marcus Lee (it was featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs program, to give you an idea of what I’m talking about). The brief was to compose a short piece for chamber ensemble that is inspired by architecture - either the Frame House or another building, the “Hot House” (designed by Cany Ash). Here’s the programme notes I sent along with the scores:
“The Siberian cedar frames hold the building together. These large wooden squares wrap around the rooms like an embrace, performing both a structural and aesthetic function that is visible and repeated throughout. The building possesses an ambience that feels natural and honest. The timber itself has a certain colour and texture that works in concert with the architectural design allowing the spaces inside to feel warm and expansive, adding character in addition to function and simplicity, a continuous theme.
My piece starts with the raw materials, working with them and perhaps even bending them slightly to construct frames around spaces, floors and rooms. The spaces have different functions and house varying levels of activity, yet they are all made of the same stuff and share the same very simplistic design.”
UPDATE - it wasn’t selected, but I’m cool with it because I think this piece would have a better life with a smaller, plugged in ensemble, like I originally intended.