Yes ,I’ve been very quiet for a while, blogwise. Though I can assure you, I’ve been working steadily, and indeed, a bit stealthily :-). Being retired from school, (officially from 1 March 2017), I decided it is high time to at least try to reinvent myself somewhat. The Beat Love Oracle project is part of this new quest, though I hope I might discover more ways to escape from my older composing self.
Composing for this quartet comprising sax, marimba, bass and drums is very very very hard: my co-players are all steeped in improvised music, and I want to keep hints of this spirit in pieces which are through composed. A marimba is not a powerful instrument, far less than the ubiquitous electric guitar, which means that the pieces are not based on chordal schemes, but on the other hand, most ‘experiments‘ sound rather strained and unyielding. Very hard indeed…
Yesterday I finished the second piece of a second set of pieces for Beat Love Oracle. My goal is is to compose three pieces, incorporating this time simple vocal lines, which the 4 players sing themselves while playing. At least, that’s the idea.
Rehearsals for this spin off of the Hardscore band are planned in June of this year, once the second try out concert with the aforementioned band will be behind us. Then we’ll see how outrageous (or simply ill-conceived! 🙂 this idea might be.
Yes, Hardscore will once again bring a great chunk of ‘Carbon Fixation’ on a live stage. Again with the superb visuals by Tomas Hendriks. Michiel De Malssche, one of the conspirators of CC Bleek in Sint Niklaas (B), invited us to test this material, low key and in a LoFi fashion, in front of his unsuspecting regulars. We will perform for the first time two more songs compared to our former try out, namely ‘A Better Plan’ and ‘Yearning Yarn’.
Here you can get the details for this concert on 20 May.
Tomorrow (4 April) Iris and I will leave Belgium for a while (leaving in behind a house sitter to take care of my orphaned scores 🙂 I’m the featured composer in the International Music Festival of Canberra in Australia. Roland Peelman, head of the festival, will perform my 20th Sonata for piano there, a piece which he also commissioned. The theme is ‘revolution’, an obvious choice, for it’s 100 years ago the Russian Revolution got rid of the tsarist regime. It turned out to be far less obvious to tackle this theme which already often brilliantly has been covered by so many composers, not in the least the Russian composers themselves. In the end, a song about a five limbed cockroach showed me the way.
In a second concert, Four Middle East Songs will be premiered. Again with Roland behind the piano, but sung by the great basso Clive Birch, which whom I already enjoyed so many joyous moments when he still was part of the acclaimed vocal ensemble ‘The Song Company’. He’s retired now, but still very much active in all kinds of solo projects.
These songs are taken from the music theatre work ‘Middle East’ I composed in 2010 for LOD based on an original libretto by Philippe Blasband.
We’ll be away for more than 5 weeks. And no, I don’t feel any inclinations to start to learn the didgeridoo. Neither does Iris. We just hope we might safely return, like any well behaving boomerang, on the 10 May.
You might expect soon after tales from Down Under in this blog.