Seeing as Edd has done such a fine job in summarizing the weekend?s activities, I will briefly draft a few personal responses to the first Amsterdam events.
Admittedly, I had a somewhat of a crisis before making the trip. It had been many years since I had the chance to write for so many instruments (a trio being the largest ensemble I have written for in the last 3 years!) – having all those sound possibilities at your disposal isn?t as luxurious as one might think!
Additionally, my high regard for the Nieuw Ensemble compounded my anxiety; I felt the pressure of the ?this piece needs to be amazing?-syndrome.
Well, that caused all sorts of problems! Personal drama aside, I eventually did get a few morsels of material scribed, I thought they had potential to be stretched and explored in a workshop.
Satisfyingly, the first day?s workshop was a real success for me. The sounds produced were interesting and the players seemed to be authentically engaged with the material and possible extensions of it. Looking back, I?m also very pleased with how I led the workshop too - quite a miracle considering how anxious I was that week
As Edd has mentioned, Pat and I stayed in that night and furiously produced some material for the next day. Our thoughts were along the lines of: ?if the Nieuw Ensemble is at your disposal, make the most of it!? I think Steph and Edd had focused on this before the workshop, impressively producing considerable amounts of work. I also admired how Pat quickly rendered something strikingly cohesive and assured for Sunday?s session.
I went away from the workshop feeling galvanized. Jöel had been generous to us all in his comments. I was personally heartened and encouraged by what he had said. I have been thinking about the work to be done since the workshop, ideas since then have been multiple and disparate: I?m intrigued to see how things (un)fold. The main thing that I think needs addressing is form: how to enable the evolving material to have multiform applications within the (probably tiny) space that I delineate for the sounds themselves.
Finally, I know Pat and I (perhaps Edd and Steph too?) feel that having now met some of the players that will be playing our music, we feel that there is a connection established. I hope that there is a feeling that we are working together to create something; I?m writing for them now, not blindly to some imagined figure as before the first workshop. The fact that they were also so understanding, open and genuinely enthusiastic is extremely beneficial for any composer willing to take risks and extend themselves; I?m certainly willing to fail whilst attempting!