August 2023: down to the country (Hampshire to be exact) to work with Tim Redpath and Rachel Calaminus of Trifarious on our latest project. Like so much of the work I’m involved in at the moment this one is running and running, by which I mean it’s taking a long time (!), but this session felt pivotal in moving from one phase to another.
Without wanting to give too much away, together we are exploring that very productive interface between composition and arrangement. Whilst there is very little, if any, original music in the programme we are designing there is, we hope, very original intervention in already existing music. Beethoven enters the picture in the shape of his fifth symphony and its famous first movement; Tim and Rachel have already made a multitrack version of most of the orchestration but the project has become rather overwhelming in scale so what we aimed to do in this session was to plan out a more collaborative approach that shared the considerable burden of completing the music. As always, though, with collaboration we ended up somewhere rather different and are now thinking of the Beethoven as a kind of ‘glue’ between the other elements of the programme. Making such an iconic piece work as a kind of connective between other, mainly much less well known, pieces looks likely to pose a range of challenges however there is a precedent of sorts in Luciano Brio’s use of the scherzo from Mahler’s second symphony in his Sinfonia of 1968. We are working to different aesthetic values from Berio but it is reassuring someone has tried this before us.