Hello and welcome to ‘Season 2’ of mad music mondays. In the first season, I explored the creative process that led to the release of my single, you should know. To go through that journey, I’d advise starting at episode 1.
In this season of mad music mondays, I’m doing a throwback. To my university days, and the music I wrote during my composition degree. One of my composition teachers once told me never to change what I wrote then; let it be who you were at the time. Therefore, in this season, I will be looking back at who I was, and see if there are any parts of me that I would rather like back. You can find last week’s episode here.
In this episode I’m looking back at a piece I wrote called ‘When Time Stands Still’, for sextet. I was fortunate enough for it to be workshopped by Syzygy Ensemble, where the recording I have comes from.
To be honest, I can’t remember much of the writing process for this. My rather irritating, artsy caption says, ‘my ponderings on memories that are almost too real.’
What I do remember about writing this piece is that Katy Abbott, an excellent composer, was my teacher at the time. With her, I discussed lots of techniques. Her favourite was ‘dovetailing’, where one instrument takes over the melody from another instrument, overlapping each other, so it sounds like a transformation of sound.
Her exact words were, “I can never get over how well it works.”
And she’s right, it’s fantastic. I use it in this piece, to move the melody from the flute to the clarinet. It does work, and so much better than you would imagine.
I would say that with this piece, I was trying to be clever.
That’s not the part of myself that I want back this time.
The part that I do want back is the part that stays interested in techniques. That studies them, wonders how they can be developed, but also remembers not to reinvent the wheel.
Jena Ren, 2022