January 31, 2017

Some months back I went to a meeting of administrators, connected with the commissioning of new works. One speaker said something which I have given a good deal of thought to as on reflection I think it was a very important point. It was said, ‘there is a right time to collaborate’. Certainly true, but putting it a slightly different way, ‘there is a right time to write a work’, and it was the latter that has kept me thinking.

This is because, for me, when considering what to write, the background to the work plays an important role, particularly if a new work is to be inspired by a contemporary event. This in itself requires particular consideration as almost every day there are events that might be a suitable inspiration to a piece of music, but it is essential that the event has some broader significance, a longer legacy than just its temporary impact.

My first string quartet, under a subtitle of Robben Island, was an ideal inspiration, because what lay behind it, the breakdown of apa...

November 22, 2016

Although it is a  subjective opinion, I have never regarded myself as a ’modern’ composer, or I should say, a composer of particularly modern-sounding music. I did once receive a response  from Classic FM to say that the music was "too modern" for their station, but not really writing with ‘that modern sound’, which sometimes seems to me to become a stylised modernity, I have always felt that the music I write falls in the middle of the spectrum. In saying that, I am full of admiration for the complexity of some modern classical music, the trouble is that when listening, if I am struggling with it, then how does that music reach a wider audience? Or perhaps it doesn’t matter if it does. I remember going to hear a friend of mine playing a new concerto a few years back, really tough on the ear, and although undoubtedly it would have made more sense on further listening and study, the question really was, could I be bothered to do so. On similar lines, when I was just starting t...

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