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My new work has taken me longer than expected, as I had a change of heart regarding the overall style of the piece.  The draft I had been working on felt too similar to my other orchestral works, and I thought to make the most out of this project I really ought to explore some other possibilities.  So while my new new work retains my initial overall structure, its soundworld is somewhat different.  My music is often highly lyrical and delicate with fairly transparent instrumental texture, but since I felt I have already demonstrated my ability in writing such music in the past, I concentrated instead on trying to bring out the raw energy available from a symphony orchestra in this piece.

(You may sample my previous works here.)

I think we’d all agree that the LSO Panufnik scheme is a truly amazing opportunity – to be one of just six composers chosen to write a piece for one of the best orchestras in the world does sound rather mind-blowing. And of course it is! But they don’t like to make it too easy for us . . . as I imagine nearly every other blogger in this forum will have remarked, this ‘commission’ has been made exceedingly tricky to handle, not necessarily due to the complex nature of the orchestral palette we’re dealing with, or even the balancing act many of us are undertaking (between this and the various other simultaneous commissions). No, the Devil, for us, appears in the apparently benign form of the number 3. Or perhaps, more accurately, that obscenely small time limit of just 3 minutes long! This might be an irritatingly recurrent theme throughout the Panufnik blogs (and I apologise for bringing it up yet again), but really, it is such a tricky problem to address. Full-length piece with beginning, middle and end, or short, exploratory study? “Show ‘em what you can do”, maverick-style, or aim for a strong, cohesive piece of stand-alone music? Or both?

I’ve foolishly plumped for the latter. My first draft score was submitted yesterday to Colin Matthews, and I wait with trepidation to see if he thinks I’ve succeeded – I shall, no doubt, post all ensuing criticism here very soon!

July 2009
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