Work in progress: Carrion Comfort 5 – at last an ending!

Tomorrow is my interview/audition/test thingy for my application to do a composition Masters at Trinity Laban. I really have no clue whether I might get in or not. I’ve been told by very kind people that my compositions should come up to scratch, and my newly-acquired flute teacher says my fluting’s fine, but with it having been 15 years since I finished my undergraduate degree, I find myself wracked with terror at the prospect of the written analytical test. Given that it’s now the day before and really far too late to learn all the stuff I can’t quite remember and haven’t yet got around to revising, I am taking the Doris Day approach and singing Que Sera Sera, going through all my scores and making sure I at least know what I’m going to be talking about with my own work.

Which made me realise that I haven’t done an update on Carrion Comfort in quite some time and that consequently you don’t know yet that it actually has an ending! (Unless you follow me on Twitter, in which case you’ve known this for a while but haven’t actually heard it yet.)

No, it’s still not quite complete (more on that in a moment) but structurally I think it’s basically there – and this version is what is going to be put in front of the awesome and all-powerful Trinity Laban auditioning people tomorrow, so I guess this is as good a version as any to share with you.

The main reason it’s not complete yet is that it’s taken quite a while to get the list of percussion that would actually be available. I’ve known since almost the beginning of the composition that I wanted to include percussion, but I’ve not entirely been sure what to put in there, and knowing that resources were few for the intended ensemble, it seemed better to plough on and get the framework done, then rework as it became clear what I had to work with. Well, the percussion list only turned up on the day I had to send this to the printer to get it to Greenwich in time for the deadline, so it didn’t stand a chance there, but I have it now and am still a little unsure how to approach it. My personal desire is for generous lashings of timpani. But I’ve known from day 1 that timpani were not available, so I need to somehow find a way around that. This is what is at my disposal:

  • Drum kit: pedal bass drum, snare, crash cymbal, ride cymbal, hi-hat, hi tom, mid tom, low tom
  • Bongos
  • Tambourine
  • Mark Tree
  • 3 Triangles
  • Finger cymbal
  • Cow bells
  • Wood blocks
  • Claves
  • Whistle
  • Tambourine
  • Floor tom
  • Snare drum
  • 2 suspended cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Vibraphone (only if piano isn’t required)

There is only one percussionist, but the pianist can play the vibraphone if required.

So much thinking is really required to decide what and how to use it. I’m thinking the vibraphone might indeed be a useful addition, some cymbal rolls might work well with the string tremolos and maybe an assortment of toms to make up for how I was thinking of the timpani? Really not sure. Experimentation will ensue!

Oh and anything you can provide for tomorrow in the area of crossing fingers, holding thumbs or anything else you do for luck will be most gratefully received! See you on the other side!