BBC Broadcasts ‘man made’ world premiere from May 2013

September 25, 2013

Hi Everyone!

I am really excited that my piece ‘man made’ for So Percussion and orchestra is now up on the BBC site, ready to be heard. ‘man made’ was co-commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and it premiered this past May at the Barbican, played by So and the BBC Symphony, conducted by Jayce Ogren.

You have to listen fast – the recording is only posted this week! Only 5 more days left!

Since I wrote the piece for my friends in So Percussion I wanted to take advantage of the things they like to do – create theatrical environments, use weird things you don’t usually think of as instruments, play super hard music that is intricate, oddly emotional and sometimes very loud.

In ‘man made’ every musical idea starts with the soloists, playing on something that is not normally an instrument, or in an orchestra. The first section begins with So snapping twigs and then dropping them on the floor, for which I have carefully notated both the snapping and the dropping. The second section uses tuned wine bottles, the third section uses tuned metal pipes and trash cans, the last steel pan and drum set. In each of these sections the percussionists in the orchestra ‘hear’ the soloists, translating the solo sounds into more normal percussion instruments, and inviting the orchestra to join them, which quickly overwhelms the solo part. It is a kind of ecology of how ideas get invented, adopted and then overused, a kind of boom-and-bust cycle for orchestra. WIth twigs.

Here’s the link:

The broadcast includes premieres by Nico Muhly and Paola Prestini, and much enjoyable and informative chit chat from Nico between the pieces. Their pieces are also really nice to hear on this broadcast! But if you only have 23 minutes to spare, Nico’s introduction to my piece is at about 18′ in and then my piece starts at about the 19′ mark.

The whole broadcast is only up for the next 5 days, so you might want to listen to it pretty soon. If you miss it you can’t hear it again until the LA Philharmonic and So Percussion give the American Premiere next Fall.

And if you should get a chance to listen to it and have any comments or questions for me please don’t hesitate to get in touch.