Really pleased to announce that my good friends over at the house of bedlam have uploaded Tom McKinney’s awesome performance of my piece bet maryam* from last October (New Music North West Festival, Manchester). I was absolutely gutted to have not been able to make this performance in person - and now I’ve seen this video I am even more so! Check it out!
[*the video caption screen says bet Maryam (with a capital). I don’t really know why…]
Tom was the third of (now) four guitarists to have wrestled with this piece. As will be familiar reading for regular visitors, the piece attempts to place the musical material and the physicality of guitar playing into a state of dialogue. Some passages are constructed to be as awkward as possible - bordering on what might be considered the impossible. In contrast, others are designed to ‘lie under the fingers well,’ or at least as well as a composer like me can make them. But the piece wasn’t just an experiment into what might be considered as essentially choreography. I was interested in the sonic characters such materials exhibit. The unidiomatic material, for example, often shuts down the the resonance of the instrument: notes don’t speak or ring clearly, the sound is choked/husky. In the contrasting material, designed in a sense to operate with the guitar as instrument, the resonance returns and, to me at least, the timbres become once again three-dimensional.
I cannot thank Tom enough for the astonishing work that he has put into learning this piece - for a 6 minute concert spot it requires an unbelievable amount of work. But I think his efforts show. A lot. I will seriously be forever in his debt. And if any of you get a chance to hear this guy play live, grab it - he’s amazing!
Enjoy the video!