Olivier Messiaen: Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps

I’ve made an online lecture that discusses the compositional technique of Olivier Messiaen with reference to his quartet: Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps (Quartet for the End of Time) for clarinet, piano, violin and ’cello. In this lecture, I discuss his use of ‘modes of limited transposition’; ‘isorhythms’, ‘non-retrogradable rhythms’, and ‘reductive rhythm’. This blog post features as a supplement to the lecture, which you can find on my YouTube channel.

Olivier Messiaen

First, some contextual background: who was Olivier Messiaen? He was born in 1908 in Avignon, France. His father was a translator of English (especially Shakespeare), and his mother was a poet. Messiaen taught himself piano and wrote The Lady of Shalott after Tennyson’s poem (here, he is already demonstrating extra-musical influences). He attended the Paris Conservatoire in 1919 until 1930. There, he studied piano, organ, percussion and composition (and history). Messiaen also learned about Greek rhythms from Marcel Dupré, and discovered a table of 120 Indian ‘deci-talas’ listed by Sharngadeva (these are rhythms of the Indian provinces). Knowing all this is important for understanding his works post-1935 (including Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps).

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New CD out now!

My piece ‘We Lived in the Gaps Between the Stories.’  written for amplified accordion is now available to buy on accordionist Ryszard Lubieniecki’s latest CD “SEEDS”!

Below is some information about the CD which can also be read here.

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Ian Pace in Huddersfield

I am pleased to announce that Ian Pace will be performing my Progress always comes late  (2017) for solo piano. This piece was composed as a birthday present for Ian Pace on his fiftieth birthday. More information about this can be found here and here.

This particular upcoming concert will feature works by Charles Ives, Walter Zimmermann, Marc Yeats, Lauren Redhead, Eleri Angharad Pound, Alistair Zaldua, and Michael Finnissy. More information about the concert and how to book can be found here.

The following is some information about the concert which can also be found on the University of Huddersfield’s website. Continue reading

Upcoming Performance: ENERGY CANNOT BE CREATED IV

The latest instalment in my ENERGY CANNOT BE CREATED collection will be premiered by LSTwo Ensemble on Saturday. ENERGY CANNOT BE CREATED IV: …generously taken explores the notion that all acts of composing involve (re)arranging what already exists. It generously takes, ruthlessly breaks apart, and forcefully reshapes. This piece is violent, cruel, and egotistic as it snaps and cracks the broken fragments of my musical self.

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*Interstice* now available on iTunes

Interstice is out and available to download via iTunes! More information can be found here.

screen568x568Interstice is an artwork and iPhone app that enables users to record, and listen to, an audible representation of their heartbeat. It also allows users to select a musical fragment to accompany their heartbeat. As such, users from all over the world are able to collaborate in the formation of a composition comprising an intricate cacophony of audible heartbeats and musical fragments.

Users can listen to the resultant conglomeration of audible heartbeats and musical fragments by navigating a three-dimensional representation of Earth.

Each user can add up to five audible representations of their heart rate with an accompanying musical fragment. Any one of these five recorded heart rates with accompanying musical fragments can be deleted and replaced with new submissions at any time.

Interstice is created by software developer Samuel Halay and composer Alannah Marie HalayMore information behind Interstice‘s conceptual framework can be found here and here.