I See With My Eyes Closed is a collection of three pieces, rather than a three-part composition. Occasionally, there is material from one movement that reappears in another. This is only because I like the material. It has no other significance.
This piece was written entirely within a week in a small house in Nantlle, Gwynedd. I went there with my friend Pete (to whom this piece is dedicated) in July 2009. It’s a fairly swift ascend followed by an extended gradual descend. Other than that the music has no more contents. This piece is dedicated to Peter Batchelor.
2: Thank you, hero…
This piece uses two chords: C major and E minor. The musical material is reduced to the exact point when I did not want to reduce it any further. The version that you are hearing tonight is the very first draft that I made. This version was followed by months of adding and adding material and taking it away again until I arrived at a version, in which there was enough nothing and in which every single note was exactly how I wanted it, which was identical to the first draft.
This piece is a collection of soli with and without accompaniment, followed by a fast paced coda. Like in the other two pieces, there is no significance to any of the music. It means absolutely nothing. For me that’s what it’s all about.
“There are two things that don’t have to mean anything: one is music and the other is laughter.” (John Cage quoting Immanuel Kant)
The idea for I See With My Eyes Closed came years ago whilst watching the CBSO and speculating about the difference between concerts and theatre shows, why attending a concert is better than listening to a CD and what music is ‘for’. I was excited that Stephen Newbould and his team at BCMG were so receptive to the idea when I finally presented it to them. I was excited again when we were introduced to Michael Wolters and recognised him as an artistic soul-mate. It has been a challenging process that has continued to make me think about those same questions but more deeply. Stephen, Michael, Richard and the BCMG players have all taught me an enormous amount. It has been a privilege to have entered their world and I thank them for their generosity. Ultimately however this evening is about you, sitting here in the audience and what you see and what you hear and what you think. We hope that, amongst other things, you think that it is good.
I see with my eyes closed was premiered by BCMG conducted by Richard Baker on 24 May 2010 at mac, Birmingham.