Some organised performers and teachers have been planning next year’s programmes and I have had a number of orders for percussion music. Not the new works that I have been struggling with lately but works from approximately 20 years ago.
I am not complaining as it is an interesting study for me as the composer to find which works capture the imagination and which ones do not. It can be circumstances that change with groups disbanding and people moving to different jobs as well as sometimes the music just not being required.
That said the works that are being requested this month are mainly my favourites. I judge this by forgetting about the music for a long period of time and then listen again. If they still have some attractive moments then I am happy but if there are sections that I think are not quite right then I can understand why they don’t interest others.
The works ordered recently include the suites Festive Music (Autumn Waltz is available to listen to at SoundCloud) and Sweet Whistling (the last two movements – On the Pond and A Real Mouthful – are also on SoundCloud). The Ten Xylophone Solos are still going strong with Two Spanish Dances and Silent Cinema Chase (which also have a brass band accompaniment) being the most popular from the collection. One of my early recycling ensembles from the Groove Music series – Drums and Junk, Rock and Funk has been requested this year and a percussion ensemble with narrator – The Drum had to be found, brought up to date and is now available and looking far clearer than before (no audio of this yet but I am recording some extracts for a YouTube near you soon).
These works are from the period 1985 (Ten Xylophone Solos), 1991 (Festive Music) and 1995 (most of the others). They still sound interesting to me today but in a different way to how they seemed years ago. I hope the new works have the same longevity and all of them keep ringing, striking, bashing, rolling and, most of all, are performed for many years to come.