‘Flowers’ is a piece composed for solo piano. Throughout my studies at the Conservatoire, it has become clearer to me that nature has a really big influence on my projects and the way I work. I think this stems from growing up in the Suffolk countryside and living there up until moving to Birmingham.
The first stages of planning for this piece took place when I was back at my family home in Suffolk during the first UK lockdown back in March – August 2020. However, I did not start writing it for a long time after that. I felt that having the piece planned out put me in a strong position to start the actual composition of this project. I also found it helped to bring back the feelings that I have towards nature even when I am away from my family home and living in Birmingham.
I wanted to replicate the feeling of being surrounded by nature into this piece. That is why I decided to keep the use of standard western notation to a minimum and create the tone or mood of the piece and performance directions by including this graphic element.
I felt that the painting alone looked messy and didn’t clearly create the mood that I was looking for. It is really important to me that the score aids the performer in a way that is more than just telling them what they are meant to play. I think that this score works successfully to create an atmosphere that would not have been achievable without the graphic elements.
In the preparation of this piece, I did a lot of research in painting and drawing the grass and flowers in a way that I was happy with. I have used graphics before writing this piece yet not in the same way. I wanted it to be beautiful to look at for the performer so that the beauty I find in nature would be reflected in the piece. Here are some photos of the preparation work that I did in advance to writing the score.
For this project, as well as most of the others I worked on this yea, I have created sketchbook pages planning out step by step what graphics I want to include as well as doing background research into other artists. Something that I found really helpful in this process was doing a lot of study drawings of plants and the elements of nature that I wanted to include.
In reflection on this piece, I am able to say that I am proud of the level of detail that went into the preparation process, I found that it really helped me to have a clear vision of what I wanted when it came to making the physical score. However, as this year has continued, my own compositional style has developed further and further away from the inclusion of standard western notation.
I feel I have developed my preferred style of composition into something that works a lot more clearly with graphics. In retrospect I think that I was using the middle ground of combining the standard notation with graphics as a form of a safety blanket to bridge the gap into feeling comfortable creating graphic scores.