My latest mentoring session with Tansy Davies during her visit to Cardiff for Composition Wales has proved extremely enlightening, and taught me a great deal, about myself! We talked about the importance of knowing what my work is, being my own brand and understanding my ‘product’. Through examining existing, recent and current pieces we came to some surprising conclusions:
It turns out I’m something of a traditionalist (at least at heart). My work is acoustic, diatonic and has a tendency towards conventional instrumental combinations. I have an ear for popular culture, reflected in some of my textural and formal languages and I find myself, stylistically, at a sort of cross-roads of minimalism and modernism.
Developmental cyclic forms demonstrate this, often paired with an economy of musical means and an ear open to more exotic performing techniques. Some of this, I think, stems from my previous work as an oboist as much as my current work as a composer and perhaps, on some level, a performer's mentality is still more of a part of me than I know or realise.
Learning what my music is feels, in a way, like a weight has been lifted and my homework from Davies (to write an essay about my music), although something I felt uncomfortable starting, seemed, in the end, to come quite naturally.