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A Musical Interlude!

Things have been a bit quiet on the photography front so I thought I would take this opportunity to update you on what I've been getting up to in the meantime. I'm sure many of you know already, as well as photography, I also enjoy composing my own music. It's been great having more time to dedicate to it. A few years back now I decided to write a piece about my love of North Norfolk, where I have spent a lot of time, especially over the past seven years. I thought I would explain a bit about how I'm going about writing this piece of music.

It's quite an ambitious project as I decided to write an full orchestral piece for the first time, which is something I have always wanted to do. As I usually do when I'm writing music I start by mind mapping the themes and ideas for the piece. For my Norfolk piece I decided that I couldn't condense it into one composition, so I thought I would have movements that were about particular places to create a suite of music. I then wrote about how those places make me feel and the memories they evoked. Those included, Cley nature reserve, Cromer and Hickling Broad to name a few. I then thought about the structure and instrumentation which is when I decided to make it orchestral. I also wrote a list of pieces to listen to giving me ideas about the feel of the music and the more technical side of things like tonality for example.

When it came to starting I managed to get quite a few ideas down, but I found the thought of writing for orchestra quite daunting. After a particularly frustrating time of writers block I decided to orchestrate a piece I had already written as a practice run. It was definitely a good move as I got a much better idea of how to go about it, and with some further research I felt confident enough to have another go. I will add this has taken me a lot longer than it would have done had I had the time to work on it full time, but that's ok as I could never stop the photography either. I have made my biggest break through over the last couple of months, and now feel I have really hit my stride. I am feeling excited about where it will take me next!

Along the way I have listened to lots of interesting pieces of music including lots of familiar pieces, and some I have never heard before. Much of my inspiration has come from some of my favorite Brittish composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gerald Finzi. If classical music isn't really your thing I would encourage you to listen again with open ears. You never know you might be surprised, and after all it is at the root of much of todays popular music. I think there are few things on earth that can express the whole range of human emotions like classical music. If you're interested in exploring classical music more you can't go far wrong with film music, like the music of John Williams for example. He's written music for everything from Star Wars to Schindler's List. I think you will find much of it very familiar.

As part of my research I watched a inspiring program called: Black Classical Music: The Forgotten History on the iPlayer. Here's the link:,in%20a%2090%2Dminute%20special.

The program looks through the last 500 years or so, exploring the composers who have been sadly pushed aside because of the colour of their skin. Many of the composers I had never heard of and it's such a shame they're not better know. Some of the music is amazing and every bit as accomplished as their contemporaries. I was particularly struck by the music of George Walker who had his piece Lyric for Strings played at the BBC Proms for the first time in 2017, which was his lifetime's ambition and he finally achieved it at the age 95. Sadly he died a year lately, but at least he was able to see that moment even though he wasn't able to be there in person. They had him on Skype because he wasn't well enough to travel from America and I was moved by what he had to say afterwards. Here's the piece in the video below I hope you enjoy!

I love the beautiful quiet, stillness of Walkers piece and I'm keen to evoke something similar in my own music. Many of the places I visit in Norfolk have a similar quality about them so it would be fitting if I took inspiration from his music.

I hope you've enjoyed finding out more about what I get up to when I'm not behind a camera. Hopefully I can share my own music with you in the near future.

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