The never-ending workshop

Posted on April 24th, 2020 by

THIS POST WILL GROW IN REVERSE ORDER. Oldest posts at the bottom of the page

Notes from composers in the Spring Lockdown

May 5th – The River Dreams of Winter

At the desk. Basic preparation. Technical exploration of lovely new piece by Sadie Harrison

Morning 3rd May

It’s been a busy week, so I have not been able to post, but I will add a little to this today. Yesterday, I received the latest piece in the cycle of caprices which Roger Redgate is writing for me. Here’s a taste of three earlier ones.

Roger’s music is wonderfully difficult to play, but easy to listen to – full of mordent wit, fleeting lyricism, aching melancholy, arguments, agreements, laughter, tears … I love it. When I posted the extract from the new caprice yeterday, there was some online discussion about the microtonal notation. So here’s an extract from that, with some scribble to explain Roger’s system, which is one of the standard ones.

Roger Redgate – Caprice IV extract

There is one notation for a quarter-tone flat, and one for a quarter-tone sharp- See top annotations left and right. There’s also a notation for less-than-quarter tone inflections. Hope that this helps! More to follow!

Evening 24th April

Second contact from another new collaborator today. Composer Neil Talbot postedin Facebook: ‘ Early afternoon today we headed for Ottery St. Mary. On the way there an idea dropped into my head for a solo violin piece […] I stayed in the car and jotted it down. I’m hoping that Peter Sheppard Skaerved may look at it and might be interested in me developing it further’

I went to the desk, recorded it, and responded: ‘ Here you are — workshop reacording. Very excited to see where this lovely barcarolle goes!!!! Thanks so much’

9 am 24th April 2020

A few minutes ago, a composer send me some chords asking about playability on the violin. The first was a big tenth, which is out of the comfort zone for about 25% of players – then some sixths, which provided an opportunity to talk a little about voice-leading. I annotated the page that was sent to me, as I was really pleased with the direct question, and want to encourage these simple conversations.Here’s the annotated page

AND violinists (violists) too, it’s because not voice leading is lazy. Too many of us just drive through chords as if we were bashing a keyboard, and not finding the natural ‘route’ through the material which means that forcing is unnecessary.