Wednesday, 29 December 2010

New Piece: St Mary's for Organ.



Recent piece of mine above. It's the third of four 'framed pieces' I've just finished writing. It's super-brief as the score has to fit into an A3 frame and include the various matrices, arrays and geometric gubbins used in its manufacture.

As usual the harmony is a cryptogram of the title, St Mary's (all my pieces begin life like this so it seems, for various reasons, not sure if any other composers use this specific method as my cursory research hasn't turned up anything so far, I'm claming it anyway). In this case the main gesture - or melody if that isn't too unfashionable a term to use - is a direct mapping of the title: 6, 7, 0, 0, 5, 0, 6. That appears in the first section and again transposed in the second (T-1). The vertical harmony was generated via a rotational array.

I could be more specific with the registrations but I'm reasonably happy to leave that to the performer. Also it's the first piece I've written for organ so I'm at least a few country miles away from being any sort of expert in that regard.


St Mary's playing score (©Edward Lawes 2010).

These four pieces are all based on Birmingham things* as I intend to sell them in the new and most spiffing We Are Birmingham shop. (*places, buildings, mottos, all sorts).

St Mary's is a medieval church conveniently located behind my house in Moseley. The piece was written for their organ and the above recording was made there, performed by Michael Perrier (my old piano teacher as it happens, I hadn't seen him since I was 6, that was 1984. I'm taller than him now but he has more hair).


Mick at the organ.

I intend to make a longer piece out of it when I've finished designing the framed scores (taken quite a while to get used to using Illustrator and InDesign also I need to finalise a design that looks nice but is still functional, and even didactic if I can be so bold).

The idea is to make recordings of each piece so people who buy the scores can go online and hear them, and/or I might produce a CDR that comes with each score. This is all something of an experiment at this stage, whether there is much of a market for contemporary scores in this form remains to be seen (I'm not expecting a deluge of commercial action obviously, just a vaguely modest turnover, perhaps).

Thanks loads to Mick for performing the piece and to those at St Mary's for their generosity. Finally an equally gigantic thankyou to Alan Dolhasz for engineering the recording. P.S. the hiss you can hear is the sound of the air going through the organ, it's not tape noise or some other recording artifact. It wasn't that easy to record given the wide dynamic range.

2 comments:

Dan said...

Very nice Edward, thanks for sharing. I like the way you're pushing brevity to new extremes.

cheers, Dan.

Edward Lawes said...

Thanks Dan. It is a 'complete' piece as it is but I will write a longer version when I get a chance. This one is for the framed series so it has to be brief. An interesting limitation to work with imo.