I have always been fascinated by newness and I like to imagine that my own work is in some way innovative. But I am aware too that its innovations are not always in line with contemporary musical fashions.
On the other hand, we live in a world in which it is clear that innovation and fashion have played a considerable part in generating the mountains of waste that – in every sense – are destroying our planet. We make far too many unnecessary things that consume our energy and other resources and artists are no less guilty of this than the global tech and energy companies.
What to do? Art often shows us where and how we are, but it can point out new directions too. Perhaps a possibility is to make work that sustains as much as it invents, that uses existing resources in new ways, and that’s the focus of my recent music. Es war einmal, an extended piano piece for Kate Ledger that I finished at the end of last year, transcribes, sets and dramatises the twenty-one stories collected by the Brothers Grimm that, in their first publication, began with the phrase ‘es war einmal’. And my current project, Le monde va changer, takes the melody of ‘L’Internationale’ as the starting point for music in which a mixed ensemble finds ways of working together.