To launch the Southampton Music blog, we’ve commissioned a series of ‘What I did over the summer vacation’ posts. Here’s what Lecturer in Composition Matthew Shlomowitz has been up to:
Over the summer I’ve been working on a fifteen-minute piece for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra that will be performed in March 2014. The piece has proven tricky to write, particularly as I decided early on to include a solo drum-kit part! The idea of bringing the drum-kit into an orchestral setting is a risky proposition, but I’m excited by the sonic possibilities and the challenge of finding ways of negotiating the host of styllistic and cultural questions that the combination of orchestra with drum-kit raises.
My piece is based on musical phrases and licks suggestive of musical idioms typically played by swing and show bands. The task I’ve set myself is to try and find things to do with these musical materials that are highly unlikely to happen when presented in their original context. I think that transplanting the ‘sounds’ of the Big Band into the context of the orchestral concert is interesting as it alienates those sounds; these sounds ‘mean’ something different in a concert hall because they are ‘foreign’ sounds. And it’s not simply doing ‘different stuff’ to these musical ideas for the sake of it, but rather my hope is that I can open up a listening experience that allows the audience to hear and imagine these musical sounds in a new way (this approach is what some have called ‘enhancing perception of the familiar’). With that in mind I decided to call the work “Listening Styles for orchestra with drum-kit”, to suggest that the piece explores both musical style, and different styles (or ways) of listening.
Listen to another of Matthew’s recent works featuring drum kit, “Logic Rock”: