Control Freak?

In a recent post, entitled “Work In Progress”, I included a link to an extract of a recent piece of music I’ve been working on. In order to show just how different my new way of working is from my old style I’ve uploaded a track which starts with a short extract of a piece from the past for clarinet and string orchestra (composed in my old traditional style) which then cross-fades into a piece I’m working on at the moment. The result is a complete sea-change; a total paradigm shift. In the old music melody is a crucial part of what drives the music; the new music has an almost total absence of melody (in the true sense of the word). The old music uses traditional orchestral instruments; the new music is entirely electronic. There are similarities also.  The old music is driven not only by melody but by harmony. Harmony, in its widest sense, is actually a common denominator between the two styles. It stands to reason, that because I am still the same person, with the same brain and the same way of thinking about structure and texture, there is going to be some continuity despite the obvious differences in musical vocabulary. Also, the way texture is used in the new music is informed by years of practice at orchestrating music for traditional instruments. I think the biggest difference is the extent to which one, as a composer, is in control of the final outcome. The electronic composer who writes music which is saved as a digital file for posterity is totally in control of what present and future listeners will hear. He is, in fact, a control freak. I will readily admit to that!  The acoustic composer is at the mercy of the performer in terms of the performance outcome, for good or ill. Have a listen to this track and hear the difference in the two styles of composition:

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