Paean: Celebrating Herbert Howells

In its mysterious and brooding textures, something about Herbert Howell's 'Paean' resonated immediately with me when I first heard it in 2013. I had played 'Pageantry' and knew of 'Three Figures', two staple works within the brass band repertoire. I was curious to learn more about one of of England's great 20th century composers, and … Continue reading Paean: Celebrating Herbert Howells

I know in heaven, a castle

What a difference three years can make. It is roughly that long since I first made a trumpet sextet version of this little arrangement, which later became the version that Manger Musikklag performed so beautifully last Sunday evening: Rehearsing this piece with the band transported me back to a difficult period. When it was written, … Continue reading I know in heaven, a castle

Manger Musikklag: a new dawn

A new dawn begins in Manger Musikklag, one of Norway's oldest and most successful brass bands. I'm very privileged and honoured that they've chosen to appoint me as their new principal cornet, with several other major changes in place. This opportunity brings me to Bergen, an incredibly beautiful city with a strong cultural scene. Read … Continue reading Manger Musikklag: a new dawn

Self-promotion vs janteloven

It's been over two years since I posted on this blog, and so an overhaul of this online professional portfolio has been somewhat overdue. There's been a few tweaks to represent current activities timed with a recent relocation to Bergen. Notably, a new professional focus on cornet, and graphic design services being offered. It's been two years, because in that time I have been attempting to adapt to a new culture, one in which it seems talking about one's self in public is deeply frowned upon. Since arriving in Norway, the cultural differences have fascinated more than frustrated me. I have learned about 'The law of jante' or 'janteloven' being a concept embedded into Scandinavian societies. It is a subtle yet strong attitude that bonds people together with noticeable contrast to attitudes of UK society. Anyone unfamiliar with it can read about it here: At first I thought it was some sort of folk tale, and not to be taken too seriously. Maybe not so literally perhaps these days, but there is undoubtably some sort of adherence to these principles that holds Scandinavian communities together. I respect and admire that enormously, as do Norwegians genuinely respect each other, the land they live on and the cities they share. However, it does present me with some serious head scratching. How to talk one's self up  professionally in order to gain employment without in fact talking about one's self at all?! Discuss!!

Exhibition: ‘John Wolseley – Heartlands and Headwaters’ at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne

Of all the cultural highlights of 2015 I could choose to relive, this chance stumbling across an exhibition in Melbourne is most worthy. I was on tour there after a busy summer, and not in the most refreshed frame of mind. John Wolseley’s Heartlands and headlands was a well placed tonic that was to change the course of my year.

The idea of traversing a country and documenting it had instant appeal, having done something to that effect myself exactly one year before. Immediately drawn in by the concept, to see what one man had accomplished in four years whilst crossing the vast expanse of Australia was an uplifting experience.

The way in which Wolseley captures his landscapes creates such dynamic imagery. Their appeal to me is in the way so much competing information has been layered to form a single complex composition. The effect is quite symphonic in presenting total impressions of these worlds or instances. This is my first encounter with an artist capturing natural landscapes in such a way, reflective of the techniques of the digital age yet produced in-situ with ancient technology.

Catching this exhibition in Melbourne flicked an imaginative switch. It was the inspiration I needed to get creative again, and the visual example I had been missing of the kind of work I would like to recreate in music. Below is the blog page I visited page 6 months later to renew that inspiration and relive that uplifting moment. Thank you John Wolseley!

Art Blart

Exhibition dates: 11th April – 16th August 2015

This is a wondrous exhibition by John Wolseley at NGV Australia. The whole feeling of the exhibition, its scale and intimacy, the attention to detail and the sheer the beauty of the work is quite outstanding. I was fascinated with the text descriptions the artist gives with each piece of work, included here in the posting.

While Wolseley plays with time (deep time, shallow time and now time) and space here it is more than that, for deep time (or “the zone” in the alternative parlance of athletes) is also used in artistic activity to refer to the experience of being lost in the act of creation or the consumption of a work. To the viewer, so it would seem here for we become lost in the art of creation. There is a sense of timelessness, the experience of unusual freedom within time…

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The Ryedale Festival opens today up in North Yorkshire. In anticipation of the appearance of my group 'æðelfrìth' next week on Friday 24th, this is a synopsis of an original piece that I have written. It is one of four new pieces that will get either a world or UK premiere in our programme. See this link for concert and ticket details.  … Continue reading Jórvíkekkoer

The p-Lur project – Part 4: it’s all coming to a head

The distinctive feature of the Scandinavian Lur is undoubtedly it's dimpled head. This is the bit that makes it recognisable as a symbol of ancient Denmark, and likens its appearance to something in the B&Q bathroom catalogue (where is the temperature control on this thing?). I learned recently that these instruments are also known as a 'gjallarhorn', or … Continue reading The p-Lur project – Part 4: it’s all coming to a head

The p-Lur project – Part 3: Bending it like Brudevælte

It's been a while since my last post on this topic, and that is because progress has been a little slow, and writing about it has had to come second to getting it finished! However, it is now near enough done and being played in rehearsals for the premiere of my new piece for æðelfrìth: brass quintet, being … Continue reading The p-Lur project – Part 3: Bending it like Brudevælte