Tag Archives: piano

Reasons to be at the Bike Shed this Sunday

Stop press… Yearnings and Fears for solo piano is to be performed at Exeter’s Bike Shed Theatre, marking ten years since its first performance in Durham. The green piano that usually blends into the decor of the theatre’s bar will be wheeled onto the stage for this month’s ‘Nonclassical’ night, this Sunday, 30th June. Yearnings and Fears will be performed by pianist Alfie Pugh and a new piece for two flutes by Anna, Statik, will be performed by Ruth Molins and Anna herself. Anna says:

I would assert that an interval traditionally thought of as dissonant can sound relatively consonant when played by two flutes, given the airy, vocal timbre of the instrument. Inspired by Ligeti and Lucier, Statik explores this idea, focusing entirely on the different qualities of different intervals.

Slowly progressing without resolution and beginning in the lowest octave of the flute, fourths (perfect and augmented) and seconds produce a sound that is bleak but not harsh. Climbing to the highest octave, these and other ‘dissonant’ intervals become increasingly tense and unsettling. As the pitches fall again, the low-pitched intervals return offering a new experience of space, placidity and release.

Mixed into the experience of consonance and dissonance is the acoustic interference between the two different notes. The listener will hear their different frequencies generating ‘beating’ at different rates. For the player, this resonance is also a physical experience. Increasingly intense, the air feels as though it is electrified with static charge.

This weekend’s Nonclassical also sees performances of works by Pete Canter, Simon Belshaw, Phil Maguire, Peter Nickol and Michael Brailey. Arrive at 7:30pm to get a good seat, music from 8pm. £3 on the door.

Nonclassical at the Bike Shed

Gembird – new work for chamber ensemble

Introducing Gembird: 7! For 6, written in December 2012 in response to a call for scores by Kokoro and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for their South West Composers Day. A return to instrumental ensemble writing, this is a sextet which organically weaves colour and texture around a skeleton of musical patterns, which happen to be inspired by the number 5040 (which mathematicians will know as 7x6x5x4x3x2x1, or 7! for short). It is scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion (xylophone and tambourine, 1 player). Preview the score on the Portfolio page. Audio coming soon.

Gembird

By dosvidania on deviantart.com

America’s Secret

In 2004, I spent three months living, working and travelling in the USA. Whilst there, I bought a cheap cassette recorder from a well-known American supermarket chain in order to record ‘everyday’ sounds – visiting a museum, waiting for a train, etc. When I returned to university following the trip, I took to the electroacoustic studio armed with my US tapes, my flute and some recorded sounds I’d made using an old upright piano kept in my college’s basement; what emerged was the 10-minute Untitled (America’s Secret).

You can now listen to the whole work here.