I have been writing music for as long as I can remember. It was quite a long time before anything was published although many things were performed. I wrote things mainly for practical purposes, the musicals for the students at school for example. I created work that was inclusive, customised for the actual available cast and musicians and differentiated by ability. None of it was ever published but the performances were appreciated by the performers and the audience.
I’ve written for brass ensemble, woodwind groups, wind orchestras, string groups, choirs, flute choirs, clarinet choirs, sax choirs as well as solo instruments with piano.
I am in awe of the contemporary composers writing today. I’d be on the breadline if I depended on my compositions for an income. These talented and brave people have my total respect. Unlike myself, they are constantly expected to be original and innovative whilst trying to ensure that the music is performed and appreciated. The quest for new sounds is not always what audiences want and it certainly is not something that I feel compelled to do.
I’m not frivolous about my work. I expect to create something that has meaning and emotion using largely a musical vocabulary that is fairly easily understood. There have been many great works of fiction created without the need to invent new words or the need to make things as difficult to comprehend as possible.
“The Price of Feeling” for wind orchestra explores the nature of anxiety and the manic highs and lows of this common condition. “Las Encantadas” depicts the discovery of the Galapagos Islands, exploring how the first people to arrive there might have reacted to such beauty and such strange newly discovered creatures. “The Search for Hope”, written in a year of war, famine, climate emergency and increasing poverty, finds hope in a single descending minor third depicting the pitch of a gentle voice addressing a loved one. “Reunited” is a joyful piece to celebrate musicians returning to their groups after the pandemic lockdowns.
I don’t feel compelled to be completely original in the writing although I’m very conscious of the need for each piece to be entirely different from the rest. There are still elements of scoring that are quite innovative and some ideas about form and cohesion that I have tended to develop but I am not haunted by the “avant garde”.
Maybe that’s why I’m not rich. Just honest.