on my mind

I’m in one of those spaces in which new work is beginning but not all the completed work has yet reached anyone’s ears. As the completed work starts to get performed I will be able to confirm (or not) a feeling I have that much of this recent music seems to demonstrate characteristics of what I am calling ‘The New Naked’.

There are four tenets of The New Naked:
#1 Silence is never absolute
#2 Space is sound
#3 Things are what they are
#4 Tones from musical instruments are enough
and the opposite of each of these is probably also part of the same phenomenon.

Certainly Flauto inverso, written last year and now the subject of rehearsals with Karin de Fleyt seems to be part of this. The music grew out of Karin’s wish to ‘re-imagine the flute’ and our first session together on Flauto inverso was very satisfactory – the piece uses the flute that Boehm so skilfully homogenised in the 19th century but gradually takes it back in time and then perhaps even out of time.

Something similar is happening in the two pieces I am writing at the moment. untouch-touch gives a percussionist a series of gestures to make, the first time to trigger sinetones, the second time to strike six gongs. senza misura is a piano work in which most of the time will be taken with slow chords that go all over the keyboard – if it works the music will sound both completely consistent and yet never the same.

There are a few things left to finish from 2016: fantasma, the first part of a triptych of vocal consort music called Canti del carcere, setting Gramsci (and sometimes Dante too), for which I already have the latter two parts; and I am writing more O Antiphons, ‘O sapientia’ at the moment.

And then I will make a work which assembles field recordings in the way that the makers of Stonehenge assembled stones; like Topophony it will involve improvising musicians too. And music for the Pierrot Lunaire quintet, a lament. Maybe also a piece for the same instrumentalists as L’Histoire du Soldat, and more music for electric guitar quartet. Lots to do…


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