November 4, 2019 – Huddersfield, United Kingdom
The last three days have been exhausting but I have witnessed Aaron Cassidy and Line Upon Line Percussion interacting about A Republic of Spaces in a number of contexts, first in Liverpool at the Open Circuit Festival for its UK premiere, then at an all afternoon and evening rehearsal in Huddersfield on November 2nd, (the sign below has the day of the week right but was meant for the 2nd), then an all day recording session on the 3rd.
I am still processing things I learned throughout these experiences, but it was still so thrilling to see how much care and effort Line Upon Line put into Cassidy’s music. So much of Cassidy’s music is about guiding musical ideas toward controlled but unpredictable sonic results.
Although the ways in which Cassidy approached writing the percussion trio are different in some cases from the Second String Quartet, my writing about learning to play the quartet will be affected by seeing and hearing Cassidy’s bright awareness of the nuanced, transient sounds he was after and the appreciation for the ongoing examination it takes to find and stabilize them. Learning about Line Upon Line’s efforts in examining, internalizing, and coordinating the music’s polyphonic activities are so helpful in understanding the preparation and ensembleship that can help move Cassidy’s works effectively toward performance.
I have been hoping to do a version of this research trip for about two years. Being here in Huddersfield observing and documenting these experiences has been a dream come true. These experiences have helped me find a better footing in analyzing Cassidy’s work, better ideas for how to develop positive rehearsal approaches to preparing Cassidy’s music, and better ways to share these ideas so that they can more impact musicians interested in Second String Quartet and other works by Cassidy.