Archiving the work of British composer Nigel Morgan (d. September 2017)
Fifteen Images (Le Jardin Pluvieux)
Extract from Image V.
This music is a collection of carefully considered miniatures for intimate performance, recording or web presentation. It forms just one part of a site-specific project that will bring together
three compositions into an installation of music, images, texts and woven textiles. The garden described in Le Jardin Pluvieux is that of a celebrated Quaker meetinghouse at Brigflatts, just outside the town of Sedbergh in a southern corner of the Lake District. It is one of those special locations touched by history and already celebrated in the poem Briggflatts by the modernist poet and Quaker, Basil Bunting. The fifteen piano pieces are quite unlike anything in the composer’s worklist to date. The music belongs to a genre of piano composition and performance practice that has its seeds in the piano pieces of Erik Satie, George Antheil, Morton Feldman, and more recently the music of Howard Skempton. This is music all about the qualities of the individual moment in which chords are sonic objects to be touched with care and their resonance and decay significant.
Le Jardin Pluvieux differs significantly from this acknowledged repertoire in two ways: its colour-generated structure, and the invitation to extend the nature of an interpretation through responding dynamically to its musical content. The latter may be approached through improvisation, applying personal templates of tempo, dynamics, articulation and touch, by revoicing chords, using open-form devices, adding repeats and distortions.
Furthermore, Fifteen Images offers the pianist the opportunity to engage with the score in a virtual format on a computer’s visual display. This ‘active’ version has now been made available as a unique multi-layer web-based score with supporting textile-based animations. It may very well prove to be one of the first compositions to be published in this way and enables players to fully explore, practice and perform the work from a computer screen as a digitally delivered Open Form piece. If you are interested in exploring the software that supports Fifteen Images, click here to access a synopsis for musicians with links to the interactive score. Simulated screens from the active version of Fifteen Images.
Extract from Image V scored for wind octet.
The second stage of Le Jardin Pluvieux is a wind octet version of this piano score. Composed in the spirit of Mozart’s harmony music for wind, this is scored for pairs of horns, oboes, clarinets and bassoon. It is substantially more complex in texture than the piano original, so much so that the composer Patrick Brandon, on seeing this version, has suggested it may well be in the interests of pianists to view the octet as a guide to forming an interpretation of the piano solo! The team responsible for realising the premiere of Fifteen Images intend to tour the work during 2010 as part of a travelling exhibition called Textiles and Music Interact. Alongside performances of Fifteen Images by pianist Matthew Robinson there will also be opportunities to see original textile work by Alice Fox and engage in workshops about composition, textiles, performance and digital media. To find out more about Textiles and Music Interact, click here. The music’s titled has been chosen to indicate its relationship to an earlier work for Le Jardin Sec. This 5 movement piece for string quartet celebrates the walled garden at Norton Conyers that features in the novel Jane Eyre.
Full score (with suggested expressive markings) [pdf]