As another branch of the project, Aldeburgh Music asked me to write a piece that grows out of Permutations but can be performed by Tamsin as part of a solo recital. For this I wrote Likeness, for live solo violin and five recorded parts.

Likeness uses the musical characters and material developed in Permutations, while playing with the relationship between the immediacy and vibrancy of live performance and its recorded counterpart. The recorded parts are spatially distributed around the venue - in this case the Britten Studio at Snape - so that the audience is surrounded by the 6 parts but facing the live part. This accentuated the dialogue between the music and its acoustic setting as well as between the parts themselves.

As part of the programme, we gave a pre-concert talk in the Britten Studio in which we traced our creative process and relationships throughout the project. Since this collaboration is critical to the project, we found this a particularly rewarding experience, having received a positive and engaged response from our audience. 





Using the some of the material I had written for Permutations, I wrote Tamsin a solo violin piece. Approaching this work, I attempted to create a sense of simultaneity of different musical materials through a process of juxtaposition. I began by adapting several of the different characters Permutations into solo material, and expanding on them in this capacity. When we were in Nikola Lenivets I had recorded myself in various acoustics improvising around the melody of my first solo violin sketch, written to experiment with in Eaton Square church originally. I went back to these recordings and chose various fragments from my improvisations to notate. I then treated them as the centre of the work, while the other characters formed a cumulative collage of material leading the listener away from the melodic line gradually. I imagined each of the characters as different interweaving pathways around a central thread, that would eventually fall away to reveal, or unveil the melody in its original form. 



Recording Permutations in the Kiln


During the last of our spring 2015 residencies at Aldeburgh, Tamsin and I recorded two of my six-part sketches. It was the first time she'd played any of the material for the six part sketches. We did this very simply using click tracks, a zoom recorder and logic. Some of the difficulties we experienced taught us more about how we will need to record Permutations when it is time to record the piece in full. This was a way of sharing what I had been writing with people at Aldeburgh as well as with Finbarr, Andrew and Tamsin. 

The two sketches we recorded, currently known as the Tuesday sketch and the Thursday sketch, each make use the space in a different way. 

One of the questions I had to begin to grapple with when writing the six-part sketches was whether the music could or should exert any control over the audience’s movements within the chamber. I suppose it is impossible to tell at this point whether listeners will be directed by the music in the way that I expect. The decision I made during the spring time residencies at Aldeburgh was that each of the sketches would play with the space in a different way, creating different relationships between the listener and the music around them. The Tuesday sketch directs the audience to the central chamber more than any of the others, although experiencing the it from one of the chambers would fragment and emphasise certain parts of the line. 

The Thursday sketch will be the opening of Permutations. Arriving into the chambers, the opening chords envelop the listener in sound from all sides. This will serve to aurally map out the entire space within Permutations for the audience. The nature of the chords is such that depending on a listener's movements or position, they will be given a different impression of the tonality of the opening of Permutations




Recording Sketches at Eaton Square


In October 2014 we had our first opportunity to listen to a number of musical sketches that Freya had been working on for the piece. We met at St Peter’s Church on Eaton Square before Tamsin’s rehearsal there. Here we made a series of recordings testing the sketches in a variety of acoustic conditions that the church had to offer, including the highly reverberant nave and a number of small alcoves with varying degreess of absorbtion. This was a vital and altogether invigorating way for the team to get their ears tuned to the compositional ideas underpinning the piece, allowing them to get a feel for the atmosphere and range of musical effects Freya was interested in experimenting with.