October 29, 2019 – Huddersfield, United Kingdom
As part of my time here I’ve been able to attend a handful of concerts here, including one of Philip Thomas playing Richard Emsley’s for piano 13 at St. Paul’s Concert Hall, across the street from the Richard Steinitz Building, where the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) is located. Thomas’s performance filled me with joy and I loved the sensitivity of Emsley’s work.
In the photo above, you can see St. Paul’s through the window and the entry way to the seminar room (furthest door on the left) where the discussions about Emsley’s work happened later that day. He and graduate student Jorge Gomez discussed Emsley’s work in great detail, with Thomas providing further performances of Emsley’s shorter solo piano works. I am interested in how Gomez has sought to update and increase access to Emsley’s notation software, which appears to have been at the cutting edge when Emsley first made it. I am not sure how deep of a study has been made of how many composers use notation software playback and how it affects their work, but Emsley’s early and unique adoption of his own software seems to warrant further study.
Further interviews with Cassidy have helped parse his workflow, especially in relation to the Second String Quartet and what has happened since 2010 when he wrote it. This has helped as I review the drafts and sketches and see how the quartet’s creativity within the frameworks moves from initial stages to the more realized version. The combination of being able to check in so much and work directly with these materials has helped me sort away a bunch of unhelpful approaches to talking about Cassidy’s work and how to connect string players with it.
I am working on the exact scheduling for travel to the University of Liverpool to see rehearsals of Cassidy’s A Republic of Spaces, as well as its UK premiere. This is going to be fun.