Good morning! Welcome to my web site, where you can find out about my music, and listen to some of it, as well as my various other ventures over the years.
26 October 2020
...and the coronavirus crisis rumbles on, so do please stay well and safe...
Yee-ha! Perfect Stranger rides again! I now have a band consisting of these excellent people: Pete Whyman and Chris Caldwell (saxes, clarinets, flutes), Shanti Paul Jayasinha (trumpet), Tom Green (trombone), Alcyona Mick (piano), Eddy White (guitar), Rob Millett (vibes and percussion), Paul Michael (bass) and Gary Willcox (drums) with me conducting — and they’re fantastic! We’ve had a couple of sectional rehearsals on Life and Times which went really well. And even better, they really seem to like the music! Now of course there’s the challenge of finding a time when 10 independent people are all available to rehearse. Not easy, but I won’t be deterred, because this is too good to let it drop. Planning to work towards making an album titled ‘Unfinished Business’, because that’s exactly what it is. Watch this space!
Well that didn’t last long! (no, not Perfect Stranger...) Having discovered last month that the recording of my Concerto for Trumpet and Brass Band (Richard Marshall, Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Elgar Howarth) was still available after all, sad to say it no longer is.
Gigs since we played at dear old Biddle Bros. in February have, unsurprisingly, been cancelled. One was at the Birds Nest, and we were invited back to the Hermon Chapel Arts Centre in Oswestry, which we’re particularly disappointed to miss. We only hope these places will still be in operation after this wretched disease has finally gone away, and that as a bonus they’ll invite us back to play there.
My own Kapadokya, which was developed from one of the tunes I originally wrote for The Europeans back in 1995, has developed somewhat and is now a semi-established part of our repertoire. This is, as far as I know, the first non-Ramsing composition PsychoYogi has ever played!
The ‘live’ videos of four of our songs have been well received and appreciated. These were not in front of an audience, hence my scare-quotes, but we did play and record in real time — it was all done in our (former?) drummer Jonas Golland’s bedroom! It was good fun, if a little tricky to negotiate the stands for three mics, three cameras and three lights in a very confined space — but we managed. They’re all on YouTube: Therapy Session, The Magic Tellingbone, Happy Family and Evening Call.
I put ‘(former?)’ before Jonas’s name above because he has followed other directions. Instead we have the excellent Ravi Low-Beer behind the kit, so all is well drummer-wise!... except that since I wrote that sentence Ravi is now also snowed under with other commitments, so we’re working with the excellent Arnold Lane on the traps. But neither Ravi nor Jonas is ruled out for future collaboration.
- I added a couple of little solo guitar pieces to the site. One is a rediscovered ditty called Face. The other, perhaps my oddest piece, is Lullaby.
- What I now regard as my definitive Trumpet Concerto (originally for trumpet and brass band) is complete and here for you to read about and enjoy. As a slightly unusual feature, I treated myself to a bass guitar and drumkit in the orchestra. I’ve had some favourable comments about it, especially about the slow movement, which is a sort of lament for Duke Ellington.
- Someone downloaded my ancient After Dark modules! (click on ‘Antediluvian Screen Savers’) I emailed him to ask if he'd send me a couple of screeen videos of them in action — or at least static screenshots — but have had no answer so far.
- My new(ish) MIDI recording of Cog-Dance is now complete and live on the usual platforms. I’ve updated the blurb on the page for good measure.
- My MIDI mix of Double Entendre, using the much better brass and piano sounds now at my disposal, is done. Although these sounds are far superior to those I used before, I had to make a few compromises due to the lack of some of the proper brass band instruments, mainly the horns in the middle (tenor, baritone, euphonium), but it seems to have worked out well — it’s certainly a vast improvement on the previous recording, so I’ve added it to YouTube and SoundCloud. Full technical details are available on the Double Entendre page.
- I’ve revisited 60 Minims and made a new realisation of it (the original audio being lost).
- The final movement (but first to be composed) of my new chamber orchestra work Hall of Mirrors is now complete, along with my usual MIDI recording.
- I redid my page on The Europeans, complete with some of the music (by no means all of the pieces) for your listening and dining pleasure. Apart from Psychoyogi it was my main musical activity for a while, until I got back down to Hall of Mirrors (see above).
- There’s a new(ish) page on the site, for the benefit of composers struggling to keep track of their harp pedal settings. Very niche, I know, but it could well be handy for some folks. And yes, I’m well aware that it doesn’t work too well on various types of touch-screen and mobile device, but I’m afraid I can’t dedicate the rest of my life to catering for whatever kind of hybrid device the industry thinks up next! I found this page immensely useful while working on the harp part of Hall of Mirrors.
- Original The Bebop Variations for brass trio recorded with MIDI — listen here.
- New scores of the original Trumpet Concerto and — possibly my strangest work — in heaven... to replace old handwritten versions. PDF extracts available to download.
- Original 1974 recording of Formative Years now available for listening to here, on YouTube and on SoundCloud. Real human musicians! Some of them now jazz luminaries.
Apart from all that, naturally, this web site: explore my works, read my biography, keep track of your harp pedal settings, and see what’s on the various other pages. You can also get in touch with me via the Contact form. And for those with a taste for historical technical curiosities, there’s even a page about my NotaFile document — and the document itself.
As well as listening to my MIDI recordings on this site, you can visit my channels on YouTube and SoundCloud to hear the same MIDI realizations of a number of my works, and see the same YouTube videos as you can see here, to get a glimpse of the scores (in most cases). These pieces are available:
- Concerto for trumpet and orchestra
- Face for solo guitar
- Cog-Dance for divided orchestra
- Hall of Mirrors V
- Double entendre for piano and stereophonic brass band
- The Bossa Nova Variations
- Return of the Son of the Bebop Variations
- Variations on a Theme of George Harrison
- Music for an Imaginary Ballet
- Formative Years (from Life and Times) — this one with Real Live Musicians!
- Five Pieces for Saxophone Quartet
- ...and a little musical joke called Porterstraum
Also on the Listen page is my standard disclaimer about MIDI recordings, and a note about browser compatibility with the players for YouTube, SoundCloud and plain MP3s embedded in these pages.
And in case anyone’s wondering, what I’m actually looking at in that photo is not the score of lovesongs, but a large owl perched on my wrist.