Track by track 6: Embers

Embers seems to have become the stand-out track. Several reviews have mentioned it as a favourite, and to be honest it’s one of mine too.

Do I say every track is my favourite? I think I do, but you’d expect me to be biased, right?

The score for Embers is half prose, half music. The prose section instructions the player to do two things, the melody and the background. The melody follows a score, and “should flow and change like smoke rising from a dying fire. The score is a guide. Decisions about tempo, phrasing, repetition and filling gaps are up to the player.”

The background should be ambient and “movement, if any, should be slow. Think dying flames and embers glowing dull red against the night.”

I gave those instructions to Alun and Chrissie, and recorded my own versions. The task then was to put those different elements together to create a piece.

That means Embers has the largest and most creative contribution from Alun and Chrissie. As a composer I’ve made decisions about mood, melodic content, and structure, but as players they can choose tempo, they can improvise with the melody, they can choose the timbres and subtlties.

Any player will tell you they are never 100% happy with anything they record. That’s how it works – you’re always hyper critical of your own stuff. As Embers contains the highest percentage of other people’s playing, I am able to enjoy it all the more!

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