Reminder: Performance in London today

Just a reminder that brilliant organist, Tom Bell, will be performing my piece five visions from the book of enoch (2009) at 1pm Today in St. Lawrence Jewry, City of London. I hope some of you might be able to pop along.


[23.09.13] Upcoming performances in the USA

It has just been announced that organist and dear friend, Tom Bell, will be taking my five visions from the book of enoch on his upcoming tour of the USA. My piece will be featured at two of his transatlantic performances:

5:15pm on Sunday 6th October in Washington National Cathedral

1pm on Tuesday 8th October in Martin Luther College, Minnesota

Hope some of my international colleagues can make it. I’m going to try and be there myself!


[19.09.13] New recording online

absolutely thrilled to be able to introduce you to this freshly uploaded recording of bet denagelfor Baroque violin, masterfully performed here by Emma Lloyd (collaborator and dedicatee).

We made this studio recording as part of the concert preparations; an event that itself went on well into the wee small hours of the night, expertly assisted by Emma’s brother, recording engineer, David Lloyd. The close mic setup captures all of the little cracks, glitches and nuances that are an absolutely integral part of the composition: I recommend a good pair of headphones for a really intimate listening experience.

I’ve written some words about the piece in a previous post (which, if you missed, you can view here) so I won’t duplicate too much now. That said, the performance conditions for the piece require a substantial detuning of the Baroque instrument, creating a highly unstable instrumental canvas with which the various gestural materials interact. The violin becomes an environment where the material is transformed by the intrusion of performative ‘glitches’ such as involuntary pitch-falters and substantial bow noise. The composition is also written in the form of a matrix: a interconnected grid of modules of music through with the performer can travel at will. As a result, the length of the composition in performance can highly vary. This recording is just over 20 minutes; the premiere was nearly 28.

Huge thanks are obviously due to both Emma and David for their hard work preparing and making this recording, which I am loving more and more every time I listen to it. The premiere performance (which in itself was absolutely stunningly played as well) was recorded as well and I’ll throw a copy of that in your direction as well as soon as its in a state suitable for upload.

Hope you enjoy it!


Reminder: Performance in Edinburgh tonight

Just a reminder that violinist, Emma Lloyd, will be premiering my piece bet denagel (2013) at 7:30pm Tonight in St. Cecilia’s Hall, Cowgate, Edinburgh. It would be great if some of you might be able to pop along.


[16.09.13] New video online

Finally, I’ve managed to upload the other of the two videos produced by Daryl Buckley, guitarist and artistic director of ELISION, that announce our collaboration on a new composition for electric lap-steel guitar.

In this second video, Daryl and I begin to explore the potential soundworlds the lap-steel guitar has to offer and discuss the various ways in which some of the conceptual ideas from the first video could potentially be activated in the new composition. It’s really a video about the first exploratory steps composer/performers make together prior to the pen hitting the page for the first time.

Oh, and stay tuned for the little bit after the credits at the end. Daryl said that he couldn’t resist putting in the final cut!

Hope all is good with everyone, let me know your news!


[12.09.13] Upcoming performance in Glasgow

Fresh from the press from its premiere on September 17th, I’m really thrilled to be able to say that Emma Lloyd will be giving an additional performance of my piece bet denagel at 9pm on Monday 30th September in Bar Bloc, Glasgow.

In addition to my music, the programme will feature music by Helmut Lachenmann, Martin Parket, Jessica Aslan and my good friend Ian Vine. It looks set to be a great gig in a relaxed atmosphere - totally my ‘kind of thing’ - I hope some of you Scottish folks can be there as, unfortunately, I can’t - I’m in Huddersfield that day, handing in my PhD (terrifying a prospect though that is!)

Speak soon,


[05.09.13] Upcoming performance in Edinburgh

Really pleased to be able to announce that violinist Emma Lloyd will be premiering my piece bet denagel at 7:30pm on Tuesday 17th September in St. Cecilia’s Hall (Cowgate), EdinburghThe piece was written for and in collaboration with Emma and is scored for solo Baroque violin, complete with gut strings and Baroque bow.

We worked on the piece between January and April this year, which was really great fun. Emma brought her own cards to the table in the form of a wish to explore facets indeterminacy in Baroque violin performance practice, something I must confess I probably would not have embraced without her enthusiasm!

The piece embraces indeterminacy in two different ways. Firstly, the score is in a kind of open form. It’s constructed from a kind of matrix of interlinked sectional modules which works a bit like the London Underground map. The performer is free to travel through the score, from module-to-module, section-to-section, in any way they wish providing their movements are possible within the ‘rules’ of the matrix: so you might, for example, be able to move directly from A to B, or directly from A to C but not directly from B to C. It’s easier to see then to describe, so do take a look at the score via the above link. Due to the form of the piece, in reality it’s printed on A0 paper (yup, eight times the size of A3 - that’s 1189 x 841mm!) maybe it’s something to peruse on the screen rather than trying to print!

The second indeterminate thread is a little more subtle. The piece makes performance demands that cause the instrument, in executing the music as printed on the page, to create little sonic 'glitches’ - involuntary cracks and squeaks that blur and alter the music as printed on the page. To achieve this, the gut strings are first retuned to an extremely slackened scordatura (retuning) - to the point where pitch-stability is absolutely questionable -  the player is then prompted into unusually extreme/fluctuating performance directions (lateral bow position, bow pressure - even bow material). There is a thus a wild disassociation between the music as heard and how it 'looks’ on the page. Which is probably a good reason to go hear it live rather than read about it here!

That said, for those for whom reading is an unavoidable addiction, Emma and I recently wrote a paper about the piece, which can be downloaded by following this following link (as with the previous paper listed on my site, below, the formatting demanded by the conference organisers is not entirely to my taste - I hope it’s not too much of a hinderance to your reading pleasures!) Enjoy!

Hope to see some of you in Edinburgh. Do please go along if you can  - Emma is an incredibly committed performer and the piece - well - I’m quite pleased with the piece as well!