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Blog Category: composing today

Living on Paper – a Question for Composers

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This week I have heard a couple of excerpts from the BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week – “Living on paper”: Letters from Iris Murdoch 1934-1995.

It led me to think about the art of writing both words and music and how much technology has influenced the way that it is done today, quite possibly changing the resulting creative work.

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Silence Speaks

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Just a few seconds before 11am on Wednesday 11 November 2015, I was descending the steps into Kings Cross Underground Station in London when a voice came over the tannoy asking that we join with the staff of London Underground in 2 minutes silence to honour those people who had been killed in two world wars and more recent hostilities.

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Young Composer Voices in Cambridge

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10th November saw An Evening of New Music curated by young composers Jay Richardson and Alex Woolf, under the aegis of Young Composers’ Network*. Jay is reading Music at Pembroke College, Cambridge and Alex is in his final year at St John’s College, Cambridge. Both already have impressive CVs which include performances with national orchestras and broadcasts on national radio.

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no pain, no passion

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So, today is the day after the day on which I should have started a new commission and I promised myself, come August 1st, I would put pencil to paper. It didn’t happen and I could give oh so many reasons why not – visitors (composer Ian McQueen and pianist Clive Swansbourne ) – distractions (Clive was stung by a wasp on his finger – not good for a pianist) – indulgence (too much amber nectar; well – cava, malt whiskey, wine and cognac actually, but don’t tell my doctor!) – over-exercising (had a work out session with personal trainer at the gym – my those sumo squats are something else!) – passionate thoughts about restructuring tutti. Long enough list? Enough of the obfuscation! If truth be told, it’s the same old, never goes away, dare I start? Of course I do, but how? I know, I’ll sharpen my pencils – that would be something like 300 so that should take an hour or so. Hmm, thirsty work – time for a cup of tea. Oh look, the acer is thirsty too, must water it. That reminds me, have I fed the orchid recently. Talking of feeding, what are we giving Ian and Clive for a dessert? and SO it goes on. This is the painful bit, but without it I won’t get to the passionate bit! Should I tell you what I am about to write? No, I think I had better wait until I get started – probably later today if all the pencils are sharp . . .

Sarah Rodgers

passionate confession

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I can’t believe the last post was in January!

My problem is too much, too big, too often – rather like over-eating, but in this case the bites are chunks of work that are demanding to chew. Take a typical day: start at 7.00am with a quick round of emails for overnight sales from around the world on tutti and then crosscheck these with transaction reports and backing; deal with customer queries and problems (not many of those thankfully!); pick up threads of unfinished items from yesterday or even the day before or even the week before, or in this case, 6 months before! – brief pause for sigh on passing thought that I will probably never catch up – yes that happens EVERY day – and then brighten up at thought that I can cross a few items off the ‘to do’ list. Most days there is a meeting to attend or to prepare for and this can range from a Board meeting at the mcps-prs-alliance (I’m a writer director on that one) to the management group at local church for community centre project (I’m chair of that one!) Spend some time updating pages on Impulse – hundreds of marketing and promotion-hungry composers and performers! Dash out to get to meeting – probably late (but only five minutes. Would love to stay for lunch, but, ‘no’, dash back to pick up some more threads. Prepare contract for latest commission – lovely opportunity to compose a new work for thriving choral society – chorus, string quartet and harp – can’t wait to get started on that one (been saying that for a few months now, but have promised myself to get going in August – not too far around the corner!) Have a big think about developing tutti to include itunes – really important step for classical CD suppliers – talking of which, there is a brilliant Szymanowski (that’s shoe-man-of-ski)on the tutti homepage at the moment – here it is: Complete Piano Music

Oops! have I remembered to eat today? and so it goes on. Anyway, I’m not asking for your sympathy, just a bit of slack in the fall off from blogging. Am now going to work this into the early morning routine. I know, you’ll believe it when you see it. Well I always did like a challenge – passionate about it you might say!

Sarah Rodgers

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