This folio of compositions and accompanying exegesis represents a wide range of works often created in response to briefs from musicians, choreographers, directors and other advisors. The works demonstrate, to varying extents, how approaches towards the consideration of a work’s utility, genre and extramusical inspiration are intrinsically manifest in the compositional processes employed.
Beginning with Monday to Friday – a work composed for installation in care homes and informed by literature pertaining to the use of music in dementia care – the discussion initially relates to ideas surrounding how consideration of a work’s utility can directly influence the underlying theoretical approach to its creation.
Following on, the Concertino for clarinet and string quartet is representative of approaches pertaining to the generation of form through content informed by concepts of genre. Music composed in relation to literary and extramusical stimulus is then presented in the string orchestra work Vessel (including introductory Prelude) along with the 1-hour dance work Le Petit Prince.
All these compositional strategies culminate in the opera Herakleitos which sets selected surviving fragments of the philosopher Heraclitus in a series of seven tableaux for three singers and chamber ensemble. The work endeavours to open a theatrical and interrogative framework whereby multiple layers of historical meaning can be considered in tandem with
Heraclitus’ ideas, epoch and legacy.
Ultimately the endeavour of these compositions is the cultivation of a musical art which promotes immediate audience engagement and active listening, often as a basis for interdisciplinary collaboration. Genre, utility, metaphor, and cross disciplinary collaboration informed by a deep desire to create an art which is open to a wide scope of interpretation – for both performers and listeners – are the key tenets of these works.