Credo 2011

This document has been superseded, and is published here purely for archival purposes. Read the most recent version here.

  • I believe in simplicity in music. Clean lines, clear harmonies, strong form.
  • I believe that music shouldn’t be hard work to listen to. It shouldn’t be mindless fluff either – it should challenge and reward careful listening but be enjoyable.
  • I believe that music should be more than an intellectual exercise. It should aim to touch the emotions and make audiences feel the progression of the piece as a sequence of colours and emotions. Of course intellect plays a part, but I personally cannot be satisfied with creating music which only satisfies the intellect and not the ear and heart.
  • I dislike muddy textures, thick harmonies – my music resembles watercolours more than it resembles an oil painting – most of the time you can see the paper through the pigment. I like to let the individual colours of instruments in an ensemble come through – I have less interest in a group of instruments as a group than in them as a collection of individual sonorities.
  • The music I like best is often that which achieves great effect with economy of resources – for example, Erik Satie’s Socrate, Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Bach’s Two-Part Inventions.
  • As a performer, I am primarily a flautist and singer. I believe these have influenced the importance I place on line in my compositions – line is almost always more important in the structure of the piece than harmony. Movement is driven by the horizontal, not the vertical.
  • I find myself increasingly influenced by art, and particularly art from the 20th century onwards. I never try to create an exact interpretation of an artwork, even when I write a piece that has a direct connection with a particular painting, but it’s more about capturing detail and technique and interpreting this with musical resources – Kandinsky’s ideas about points and lines, The incredible, subtle detail achieved by Rothko in the Seagram Murals.
  • I have an interest, too, in the private experience of performing. Some of my pieces (the series of Eggs, in particular) are not designed with public performance in mind, but rather with performance for the joy of the performer.

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