…and the green leaves grew around

As anyone who follows me on Facebook or Twitter will know, this Friday is the sheTOGETHER 2018 concert! I’m very excited to hear all the fantastic works by other female artists and I hope that, if you can make it, you come along and support us.

To give you a little taster, I’m going to tell you about my piece that will be played on Friday. …and the green leaves grew around was my first completely open-score work. I’d been dabbling with performers choosing elements of the music, but this was the first time I really stepped outside the box and found my own style of organising the musical material.

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The score is based on the shape of a tree. Performers can choose their own path and experiment with how the different fragments of sound interact with each other. The instrumentation is also undetermined – the only instruction is ‘for two or more bowed string instruments’. In previous performances, this has been mostly violins…but on Friday a double bass will be included in the ensemble! It will be the first time I’ve heard a double bass play this piece, so I’m very interested to see how it turns out.

The piece has evolved over four years through different workshops and performances. The first workshop was a bit of a disaster! It was during my time at university and when I sent the score to the lecturer organising the workshop, he sent me an email back detailing all the things I should change about the score (I really wish I had kept that email!). His main issue was that the score was ‘upside down’, because it starts at the bottom of the page. But I stood my ground and the score was workshopped as it was. The ensemble who played it were a fantastic string quartet, but they sped through the piece and it was over in less than a minute! This was the main lesson I took from that experience – I need to slow the performers down! They’ll want to go on to the next thing unless I force them to stay on and explore one fragment for a while.

After a few tweaks to the score, I entered the piece in an ~exchange concert. This went much better – the performers were more used to playing from an open score. Here is a recording of that performance:

Friday will be the second performance of this piece in a concert setting. Come along and see how it turns out! The thing I love about these kinds of scores is that I never know what will happen…

 

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Latest finished project:

The Mortal Path

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