I’m really excited to hear the recording of my piece A Noise So Loud from MATA Festival 2018, which has just been put out on their Soundcloud.
I should be frank that there are some infelicities in the performance – while Liminar did a great job with the (very tricky) microtones, some of the rhythmic aspects of the piece don’t come through. That leaves me with a puzzle.
The piece needs revision. I think that if I create stronger momentum in final movement, the piece will cohere better and feel less concatenated at the end. The violin melody at 13’41” is weak, the texture explosion 14’01" at could be given a little uplift leading into it, and the internal textures that follow that should be simplified to let it all glisten a little more (specifically, I will synchronise the pizzicato rather than offsetting them between the viola and cello).
But there is a bigger question about some of the sections that I think work, but didn’t in this performance. After all, Liminar is a brilliant ensemble, so if they’re stumbling over some aspects, perhaps they should be rethought. There are some easy decisions: my slightly idiosyncratic wandering between simple and compound time could be made more consistent, allowing easier vertical alignment and a clear sense of pulse for the players.
In other places, perhaps the music is simply unnecessarily hard. The most obvious example is the cello/piano line at 8'27". Here the piano is octaves and the cello follows its line, with elaborations. Yet it never quite felt like the composite melody I imagine, as the performers have so much on their plate that they didn’t link up as I’d hope. I could indicate ossia lines (i.e. make the more challenging aspects optional), remove the octaves in the piano, and notate the piano part differently. But, truth be told, I want to leave it as it is.
When composing, it can feel like your crafting a Platonic idea of work rather than a script to an upcoming performance. So while I feel that my conception of the work is possible, with appropriate rehearsal time, I also know that the chances of “appropriate rehearsal time” ever happening are slim.
When I go back and unpick my work this August, I’ll have to do so striking a balance between what I hope for the piece and what I know of it so far. Fingers crossed.