Blog

  • Awakening for symphony orchestra
    In the middle of 2020, I began working on a new symphonic work. The natural world was waking up and taking over spaces previously dominated by humans, and pollution levels were dropping as a result of lockdowns. The sketches gathered became Awakening -an excerpt of which is below. While I originally had plans for the ...
  • Phases of the Moon (mezzo sop + pno) online
    I’m pleased to finally be able to share the first of four new settings of Elinor Wylie texts – Phases of the Moon. As this piece is so new, I’ve uploaded a version with audio rendered in Dorico so you can get a taste of it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdYNxGHwKA Buy the score from Payhip: https://payhip.com/b/fFbZ Keep an ...
  • Finding those sparks
    As artists, we’re always seeking and collecting ideas. Images, sounds, pieces, moments – you’ll often find us snapping pictures of obscure things, noting down melodies or recording sounds. For my commission for the Palace Band, I wanted to write something that was directly relevant to them and the area they rehearse in – a community centre adjacent to Alexandra Palace in ...
  • Reflections upon Nature: Four premieres and lots of music!
    Thanks to the Old Riverport St Ives for hosting my Reflections on Nature evening last Friday as part of the Chapel Arts Season 2018. Thanks to everyone who came along – faces old and new – for listening to me talk and play. Thanks for being so supportive of my first ever solo concert! The concert ...
  • Curating the collection: A musical summing up
    Do writers write from beginning to end, or do they create their work in bits here and there before stringing it all together? Composing wise, I definitely tend to be the latter. You have to go where the inspiration takes you. Sometimes that can be the climatic point of the piece, sometimes a snippet of ...
  • That final bar line – and what happens next..
    The text is written. The dots are on the page. The rehearsals all completed, the performers walk on stage.. As Cracked Voices has progressed, Graham and I have shared snippets of our processes with you. From the beginnings of Graham’s research into a piece from me musing on inspiration and scales, we’ve given you an insight ...
  • A composite man – a composite piece? (Cracked Voices blog)
    “A conversation between two people who aren’t really listening to each other” To find out the background to this piece, read Graham’s post about writing this poem –  Not knowing… (part 2). I pick up straight up where Graham stops – with the finished poem winging its way over to me. When Graham sent me his first ...
  • Scales and arpeggios – not just for exams (Cracked Voices blog)
    Scales are a staple of musical life. If you learn a musical instrument, you end up playing them (sometimes seemingly endlessly!) and learning how they work is an important chunk of musical theory. Not all scales are created equal. Western music relies on equal temperament, where the octave is divided into 12 equal parts, or semitones. ...
  • Word painting – the musical Easter egg (Cracked Voices blog)
    Computer programmes and video games often include Easter eggs – little intentional secrets, inside messages or secrets to be found by the users and players. I’ve always thought of word painting (in the musical sense!) somewhat in the same way.   When related to text, word painting is all about the use of highly descriptive words to ...
  • Setting the scene – musically! (Cracked Voices blog)
    A very simple instruction that has been issued to many a composition student over the years. I remember this being said, and the mixed response from my peers. Some had a song writing background and instinctively leapt in that direction, others took a more analytical approach and began looking at strong and weak beats, stresses ...
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