Work-in-Progress Sketches – Blog One (Introduction)
|image source: http://betsydevine.com/blog|
Perhaps I should have paid more attention in music history lectures at university. But I’m always pleased to hit upon a new and quirky fact about George Frideric I didn’t know before. The most recent revelation was that Handel, Domenico Scarlatti and JS Bach all entered this world in the same year of 1685.
Now – as in all museums – the folk here at Handel House love a good old anniversary year to get our teeth into: and 330 years since the birth of these three figures seems like a pretty good excuse to me for some celebration.
|image source: http://playlistasartform.com|
In this spirit, I’d been thinking over the past few weeks of a way I might respond to this strange interaction of musical personalities in my own writing.
|image source: The New York Review of Books, Levine 1979|
Each strand consists of pre-recorded acoustic material, which I’m now in the process of creating. Although these three layers will take one of the three composers as their initial starting point, the music heard is all originally composed, and – whilst retaining glimpses and shadows of their subject matter – are still in keeping with my own compositional approach and language.
With visitors coming and going all day at the museum, my intention is to develop a piece which will play continuously throughout opening hours. With this in mind – and so as to avoid over-saturation for those moving around the house a little more slowly (not to mention the volunteers who are in the house throughout the day!) – each strand will take as its basis a canvas of silence, with each utterance emerging and subsiding back into this continuum.
|[A possible opening to the work – to be explored next time…]|
Whilst instrumental material within layers will be strictly composed and notated, the live order of each of these events will be fluid, and determined by chance upon playback. This approach will remain consistent across the three strata and so, when combined, will give rise to a constantly-shifting array of material: prolonged periods of silence, singular activity, multiple and saturated densities, and everything in between.
I look forward to sharing these ideas with you in a little more detail in next month’s blog post – explaining my compositional processes, and sharing a few sketches!
You can hear Edwin talk more about his music – and principal commission for the Museum – on Sunday 24th May, 2-3pm at Handel House. Booking opens on Monday 30th March