Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciano Berio and Pierre Boulez have long been in my group of compositional heroes. Not that I have always understood or accepted what they were doing but rather because they opened new vistas of compositional processes.
Stockhausen in particular offered composers new ideas about the way music is structured. His ‘moment’ forms made a deep impression and his early electronic music pieces Gesang der Jünglinge and Kontakte blazed new pathways. They are classics in the music of the twentieth century.
Adieu KS for solo vioklin is my musical way of offering a deep sense of gratitude to Karlheinz Stockhausen. This short hommage nods in the directly of Stockhausen’s early Sonatina for violin and piano and utilises a sequence of pitches from this work. Fragments contrast with continuity, melody with violinistic sounds and movement with stasis.
The title Anxome is a contraction of the word “manxome”, from the phrase in Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky: “long time his manxome foe he sought”. The piece is descriptive of a state of mind: at times anxious and shy, but also playful and cheeky. It was premiered in The Committee’s ‘Lightshift’ concert. Andrew Uren performed it from a high balcony, behind the audience, who were in the dark.
The word azimuth originates from Arabic and means “the arc of the horizon to the zenith” (highest point ie straight above you). In this piece, the sense of the gradual movement from a still point to a climax is obvious.
The idea of an azimuth is very mathematical and have reflected this in the symmetry and balance of the work – creating a “calculated” path of progress – very suited to the minimalist inspirations at play.
Much of my work is a marriage (or balancing act) between the Western art music tradition and my own position in time and place. Along with many forms, I have had a love for sacred choral music from Mediaeval times through to the present, but in not being a Christian, I have felt a reluctance to set text in which I don’t fully believe.
In reading the work of spiritual author, Eckhart Tolle, I have discovered a new connection with biblical texts. Tolle quotes the line “Be still, and know that I am God” in his book A New Earth, as an example of a universal truth that is at the heart of all religions and belief systems. In this text “God” may be seen as the Christian God, an omnipresent spiritual dimension or the universe personified. This line, and the rest of the text, is from Psalm 46. In setting this text I have found an opening into the world of sacred choral music that aligns with my own beliefs.