Finally, the last workshop came upon us. I travelled up to Bangor by train on the morning of the 12th with my friend and fellow CoDi Sound Composer Jordan Hirst. As we settled on the train, we realised both Ashley, Jerry and Joss were on the same train and we decided to travel together! On that 4-hour journey, we had interesting discussions about the CoDi Sound programme and the pieces we had each created, as well as discussing pieces we had recently found and generally just catching up after the long break. We arrived and went into the first rehearsal, coffees readily in hand. This was the most nerve-wracking 2 hours, but the most crucial of the whole course, as it was the first time we heard our pieces and tested the electronics. As usual with live electronics and Max MSP in particular, there were some tweaks I needed to make to my patch and with the help of Andrew Lewis, we were able to correct the problems presented.
The next day, we continue with rehearsals after a lovely breakfast at the Eryl Mor Hotel, where we were staying for the 4 days we were in Bangor. This rehearsal consisted of longer amounts of time spent on every piece and refining both the notation and electronics. UPROAR tirelessly spent 6 hours each day of our stay in Bangor, helping us understand the ins and outs of our music as well as bringing it to life. For me, they taught me to pay more attention to the small things which people overlook, like phrase markings, articulation and the layout of the score.
Finally, performance day came. I was still nervous about my Max patch and asked to meet Andrew a couple hours before our final run through of each piece. We quickly discovered the problem and had the chance to rehearse with the patch just on its own, as I had decided to utilise a launchpad and trigger the electronics myself. With the new patch in hand, we proceeded to have our last rehearsal with UPROAR to ensure we were happy with the result.
Before our concert, we had a 45-minute talk with all six composers, hosted by the lovely Deborah Keyser. Without revealing all, we talked about the different processes we went through when composing our pieces and revealed our compositional and general backgrounds. We then got to know our audience, as we had time to chat and elaborate on topics presented in the Q&A. All this included a nice supply of red wine, orange juice and a selection of snacks.
Finally, the moment came to premiere our pieces, and we finally are able to reveal all about the pieces with the help of Andrew Lewis acting as host/compere for the night. After nervous anticipation, my piece finally made its debut and was an overall success. The technology behaved itself, UPROAR performed it beautifully, and I was very proud to stand and bow with my fellow composers and UPROAR at the end of the concert.
Following the concert, a group of us made our way to a small Vegan restaurant, and celebrated the success of the concert. It was a lovely atmosphere to finish the night and gave us time to talk to everyone associated with the project as well as make new connections!
After much thought, I can say that CoDi Sound has helped me develop my creativity and confidence as a composer. I say creativity as it has allowed me to push my material further and not to be frightened of complex writing or when it goes wrong. Its taught me not to rule out simplistic writing of harmony/ melody as sometimes simple is better and I should always follow my creativity and not feel self-conscious of it.