My Destination is No Longer a Place

Hi Everyone,

I’m taking a little time to catchup with a few events that have slipped by so quickly over the last few months – so please bare with me as I finally get around to them, in no particular order. How about we start with my Quiddity Composition Commission for the Federation Handbells?

I had the pleasure of performing the premiere of my commission at the Festival of Slow Music (Ballarat) on the 28th of August with my good friend and superb musician, Matthew Horsely. The overall compositional process after gathering my ideas for My Destination is No Longer a Place was extremely collaborative – a nice change for my practise. I often find myself getting stuck at the initial stage of selecting pitches and in order to limit my harmonic predispositions (and get to work quickly) I chose to cypher words such as ‘flow’, ‘ring’, ‘lost’, ‘unfold’ into musical code to set my pitch boundaries. The work was divided into ten sections of various sizes and were characterised by the ciphered word and a specific timbral specifications and resulting attacks. In addition to our diverse mallet selection we worked to transform colours through the bowing of the bells, the addition of wooden chopsticks, combs and even ‘prepared bells’ with rice and an array of buttons. I’m personally fascinated by what happens in transitory passages between the ideas and firmly believe that these places are where so much of the magic happens -that fluid space, ‘somewhere in the middle’. Needless to say that this was an area of the work that Matthew and I spent a lot of time and thought on.

“My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing” – Marcel Proust

Setting out, I was focused on composing a work that was a metaphor of my ongoing spiritual and musical journey/search for alignment – in essence, my search for quiddity as expressed through sound. Through gesture, colour, attack, mallets, ritualised movements and space I wished to represent the transient nature of my musical journey. I couldn’t have predicted how cathartic the process of a quick composition turnaround (essentially a week) and participating in the performance actually was. I’m pretty happy with the result! Here’s a sample of the work.

A big thank you to the Festival of Slow Music in partnership with Museum Victoria and Addam Simmons for the opportunity and means to write for the Federation Handbells – they were other-worldly (one of my favourite least-technical composition words). Also, my thanks Stephanie Patterson and Miles Pigdon for the video footage. Lastly, my immense thanks to my partner in crime Matthew Horsley (Uilleann Piper, Percussionist, Composer – check out his stuff!) for his creativity and good humour as we sat on the carpet drinking cheap red wine, talking over how many creative ways we could make these babies sing whilst getting fabulously lost in the process. I do think that Proust called this one – it resulted in so many new ways of seeing.


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