Too many people to capture in one shot! Deej Williams, bass; Alex Corlett, guitar; Huw Evans, trombone; Michael Gibbs, horn; Matt Pauley, trumpet; Andrew Martin, flute; Will White, clarinets; Naomi Bailey, saxophones; James Golborn, drums & vibes; Matt Petrie, contrabassoon
Yesterday we had our third rehearsal for Cocaine Nights. A couple of people were deputising, and for them it was the first time they’d seen their parts. Gareth Trott can just about be glimpsed in the grainy photo playing the French horn part on Euphonium, not the easiest task (out of shot are the bass, drums, trumpet and trombone). The other day he also covered the trombone part! Charlie Jackson helped out with conducting.
I did end up conducting Distortions on Tuesday. I was glad the performance went well because the brief rehearsal earlier in the day had been rather a shambles! The whole concert turned out to be somewhat longer than I’d expected. Almost a full two hours from start to finish. It was nevertheless interesting to hear the eclectic range of music performed. Charlie Jackson’s piece for string quartet entitled After IV, and guided to an extent by Bartók’s fourth string quartet was played with conviction by the Silverstone Quartet. The talented Kina Miyamoto performed not only her own new work for piano and electronics, but premiered Lewis Furber’s bleak and moody Dead Preludes for solo piano.
On Wednesday I had the first rehearsal for my Cocaine Nights piece. I’d only finished the music a few days before, and was rather excited to see how it would come together. It’s written for a ten piece ensemble consisting of mixed wind, brass, percussion, bass and myself on guitar, and in some respects is related to Gunther Schuller’s Third Stream movement which began in the latter half of the fifties. My ensemble contains classical and jazz trained musicians side by side and some moments in the piece are ad libbed. It ranges from moments of atmospheric slow music, with pungent chords to fast rhythmic sections, some of which have a downright groove. No doubt those moments will be looked down upon by some listeners, but who cares, they’re not who I’ve written it for.
Yesterday, with the help of Kina Miyamoto and an array of wires and microphones, we recorded Distortions. The original group of players who’d first performed it were all present, but there was only one hour in which to get it done. Time was tight, and there was no possibility of any extra time at the end. Fortunately the group managed to do more than one take of most of the sections of the piece, and there weren’t too many difficulties, except perhaps for Harriet’s beads getting stuck at the wrong end of the rain stick! Afterwards I listened back to the different takes with Kina in the studio, and made a few editing decisions.
Not long after that, I had to rehearse the same piece from scratch with a completely different group of players who are performing it in the Weston Gallery at RWCMD next Tues evening (24th 7.30pm). It was necessary for me to conduct the piece, and I may well do so for the concert. In the absence of a cellist at the rehearsal, Charlie Jackson, who’s organising the concert, found himself playing the cello part on the piano. Thanks to that we were able to rehearse all the parts, and begin to get things together before the final run-throughs.