Musicians Wrestle Everywhere
Musicians Wrestle Everywhere is a concerto for ten instruments written as a continuous movement of thirteen minutes’ duration. Although much of my previous work has been based on exotic folk-music traditions of the world, I have often wondered if I could write down the street music of my own urban environment. To this end, I started taking note of sounds that caught my ear as I walked around at home. At first I undertook this experiment in a satirical spirit, thinking of the pastoral tradition in music from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to Maxwell Davies. Where they heard trilling birds, rilling brooks, and fragrant showers of rain, I heard wind turbulence from the Elephant & Castle roundabout, Nigerian pop music out of a tower block, and wind chimes in the back garden of a crumbling squat.
Probably nothing recognisable of such inspirations can be heard in the much-developed musical language of Musicians Wrestle Everywhere, but I feel personally affectionate towards this material which originates, however distantly, in the exotic landscape of London SE17.
Whilst writing the piece, I discovered Emily Dickinson’s poem which seems to suggest, in the very modern way of Cage and Feldman, that music is all around us if we only care to listen to it.
…blasts of invigorating instrumental sounds and easily apprehended melody combined to produce a popular success.
First performed by BCMG conducted by Andrew Parrott at the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham on 5 March 1995.