Step Inside the Composers Academy – Part 2
20th June 2022Features NMC Recordings
The sound world of Pilgrim was inspired by two works: Arvo Pärt’s Silentium from his Tabula Rasa and Pauline Oliveros’, Stuart Dempster’s and Panaiotis’ Ione, an improvisation in an extremely reverberant location. Pärt’s contemplative, consonant harmonic language may be heard in the tonal hues of my work, but more importantly it was Silentium’s lucid form that inspired the organically unfolding form of Pilgrim. Ione’s influence can be heard in the resonant sound world of Pilgrim and in the way the accordion’s role evolves from a provider of colour and harmonic support to a soloist with a melody, a similar transformation heard in Ione.
The slow, contemplative - even ritualistic - nature of the music in Pilgrim, seemed to me much like that of a solitary pilgrimage
Pilgrim unfolds in three sections: exploration of timbre and colour followed by an introverted melodic dialogue, ending with a quiet chorale. What underpins this tripartite form is the harmonic substrate which consists of E minor as the gravitational centre and a reoccurring harmonic motif: a move from E minor to C major. All musical material is derived from the first minutes of the work and is interconnected throughout.
Pilgrim was written at the same time as my larger-scale work for the London Symphony Orchestra, Sunfall, which is explosive and dramatic in character, and more complex in design. I wrote Pilgrim fast and with ease. Returning to Pilgrim after Sunfall, often felt like travelling to a distant, quieter land. The slow, contemplative - even ritualistic - nature of the music in Pilgrim, seemed to me much like that of a solitary pilgrimage.
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