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Micah Thompson
On his new Resound Films

Congratulations on the release of your new Resound films. Can you please talk us through each composition:

Thank you! Most of what inspired these pieces has been my relationships with performers. Pretty much all the material has been slowly crafted alongside performers over a long period of time. For example, the flute part in “White” is the result of several years of collaboration with the fantastic Wellington flutist Samantha McSweeney. We discovered ways of writing for the flute where each hand works independently creating multiple lines and strange and beautiful colours.

I’m interested in this approach to writing because identity is very important in my music. Both the identity of the musician as an independent artist but also the identity of the instrument and its complex history. Working closely with the musician means I can
incorporate aspects of their artistry into my composition and also delve into the history of the instrument in a unique way. It was an absolute joy to hear these pieces played live, particularly after having worked on the material for so long with the performers.

Another congratulations is in order here for your composition being selected for the 2021 NZ Composer Sessions. Can you tell us a bit about the work?

The work is entitled ‘Song’ and is a homage to older song traditions within classical music

In terms of inspiration, I have been very interested in the ways in which 19th-century composers (particularly in the Romantic song tradition) organise their harmony. For a while, my interest in older classical music has been separate from my composing but this piece was a first step in incorporating historically older ways of writing into my music.

I think this way of writing music is compelling because there is a strange and beautiful tension between half-recognising aspects of older music within a unique sound world. A good metaphor could be fantasy literature - the reader can recognise aspects of their own world in it whilst being aware that the world is not their own. In that sense, I see this piece as a kind of musical fantasy.