snapshot of score of Cog-Dance


for divided orchestra — 1997

This piece was my entry for the Masterprize competition in 1997, where it reached the top ten percent. After hearing the final concert with the shortlist of ten and the winner, however, I was disillusioned about the whole thing and didn’t enter again. The problem was that they were looking for music with ‘broad appeal’ or something to that effect, and as a result the successful entries were almost entirely derivative. I think Andrew Clements’s Guardian review of the final of the 2003 competition lends weight to my decision!

However, this experience also rather set me against my own piece, and I tended to dismiss it as something I’d just dashed off for the competition (and I didn’t provide an audio version here). Recently though, I met a musician who expressed an interest in it, which got me looking at it again, and maybe it’s not so terrible after all. Still perhaps not my best, but not without its interest and I do believe it has some value, so I’ve rehabilitated it, as it were, in my output — and made a new MIDI version for your delectation.

The orchestra — a generous one as offered in the Masterprize spec. — is divided as follows: two identical groups of 13 players (no strings) spaced as far apart as possible; a group of eight (also without strings) in the centre, immediately in front of the conductor; the full strings arranged round the centre group, separating it from the outer groups.

Score extract (PDF)


Performances / broadcasts / recordings

Listen to MIDI version (10:53)