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Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Composer's Mind

It’s always interesting for a composer to listen to the work and study the work of another composer. It’s particularly interesting in the case of a jazz composer like myself who, like most jazz composers, is also a performer — so I get to not only listen to and study the work of other composers, I also get to play their music. At the moment I’m working on music by the great German trombonist Nils Wogram, who has written a new set of music for my group Métier. I’ve always been an admirer of Nil’s writing — to my mind he’s a real composer, someone whose every piece contains interesting wrinkles, new ways of looking at old things, and just out and out new things. The five pieces he’s written for us are no exception — they’re challenging and demand a fair bit of work on the part of the players, but it’s worth it — tough but fair!

Of course Nils is also a phenomenal virtuoso on his instrument, and I’ve brought him here to Ireland on several previous occasions to play my music, something which he has always done incredibly well and along with his great playing ability, he has always brought his own composer’s mind to bear on the interpretation of my pieces. This is the first time the boot is on the other foot, and I get to see what I can do to interpret his work. The music he’s written is full of surprises, and contains so much different stuff, yet all with the unmistakable stamp of his personality.

We’ll be performing the music with him next Thursday, 1 October, in Cabinteely House — a really beautiful setting for acoustic music. If you’re around, and are interested in hearing some really great original compositions, please come down and check it out.

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