Following the recent release of the third album in the Panufnik Legacies series, which features brand new music from alumni of the LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme, we asked the composers themselves to tell us a little more about their experience writing for and recording with the Orchestra.
'Writing music, making art, or creating anything really, is for me always a personal journey. As I do it, I end up thinking, feeling or dreaming about all sorts of things. These are sometimes technically related to what I’m doing, but most of the time they are not. For example, when faced with a musical decision ('Should I throw this material away, or rework it instead?'), I start drawing parallels with past experiences ('I should have thrown this relationship away instead of trying to make it work …') and in the process, I learn about myself ('I was too weak to stand my ground and move on.'). This is what my piece Revealing– which appears on the LSO’s latest release Panufnik Legacies III – is about. It is about this particularly intense process/adventure and I think (hope!) that this intensity can be perceived on listening.
The approach I had when writing this piece was to try to quiet my rational mind (the one who tries to build, plan, organise, control) in order to make space for my intuitive mind (the one who puts things next to each other to see what it feels like, who has fun playing with notes and sounds, who generates material without particular aim, who is able to let go). The composing process was one of trial and error, of exploration and of wandering, and it resulted in this somewhat strange piece which has no real beginning, no real progression and no real end.
What it does have however is a unique feel, a unique signature, a unique atmosphere that permeates the entire piece. Despite being born out of such a meandering process, it sounds very much like one block, like one entity. It is not a story, but more a snapshot, a glimpse of who I am (or who I was during the autumn of 2016 when I wrote the piece since we do evolve with time).
François-Xavier Roth and the fabulous musicians of the LSO understood the music straight away and really created a sound world with this particular intensity, this particular uniqueness. That's the result of a particular method of making creative decisions – trusting the feelings that I experienced while composing, instead of trying to legitimise the decisions with external or rational considerations (like concepts for example). It is akin to inspiration, which I think of as a light-speed understanding of something by the intuitive mind. The rational mind will only be able to explain this much later and with much effort.
In conclusion, as I was writing this post, I was wondering why would you, the reader, should be interested in this very self-oriented reflection about a self-absorbed piece. Especially in today’s context where there are events of such magnitude unfolding everywhere around us … Well, I guess that one of the most precious things that a work of art has to offer is not the material itself, the display of technical skills, the object it depicts, etc., but what it reveals of the artist’s personality, point of view, inner thoughts. It is after all the only truly unique and original thing one has to offer.'
Listen to Patrick Giguère's Revealing on Apple Music now
Each year the LSO's Panufnik Composers Scheme gives six composers the chance to write for a world-class symphony orchestra, under the guidance of our Principal Guest Conductor Francois-Xavier Roth and composers Colin Matthews and Christian Mason. Launched in 2005, the scheme was devised in association with Lady Camilla Panufnik to celebrate the musical legacy left behind by her husband, Sir Andrzej Panufnik, and to give new generations of composers new opportunities to develop their skills. Since then, over 80 composers have participated and the Orchestra has released several albums showcasing the work of these incredible new talents.
The third album in our Panufnik Legacies series features new music from Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Ewan Campbell, Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, Donghoon Shin, Alex Roth, Matthew Sergeant, Patrick Giguère, Sasha Siem, Bethan Morgan-Williams, Michael Taplin, Benjamin Ashby & Joanna Lee.
This recording has been generously supported by The Boltini Trust. The LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme is generously supported by Lady Hamlyn and The Helen Hamlyn Trust.