SYMPHONY NO 1

This album is divided into four distinct sections:

1. The first half of the album is the eponymous Symphony No 1. This composition, although not itself an electronic work, is the culmination of an electronic music project entitled SPECTRUM, in which I created a number of pieces using only the sounds from a computer game cassette. Not the noises from the game, but the sound of a tape intended to load the game onto an early home computer - a Sinclair Spectrum, in fact, from which the name of the project derives.

Each of the the three movements of the symphony contains a small amount of electronically derived material, some from the SPECTRUM pieces, some specially created from the symphony music itself. The rest of it is scored for a conventional orchestra, with additional percussion.

It isn't written according to any particular programme, but seems to descend from the ordered, rhythmic and bright First Movement, through the slower and more melancholic Second Movement, towards a rather fractured conclusion in the Third Movement, which is more episodic, broken up by percussive interjections.

2. The second section contains the first six of the electronic SPECTRUM Project pieces. Although not intended for listening, an audio recording of the contents of a game cassette forms the basis of the seven sections of the piece. The recording was made digitally, and treatment and organisation of the sounds was carried out thereafter on Apple Macintosh computers.

The first piece is a shortened version of the game tape, with minimal sound treatment. Everything in the subsequent six parts of the piece is derived from material in this section. No other recorded or synthesised sounds from elsewhere are used at any point. The second piece is mostly concerned with Pitch, Harmony and Modulation; the third piece deals with Rhythm; the fourth piece with Timbre; the fifth piece with Time; the sixth part returns to elements of what has gone before, and to the untreated sounds of the original tape.

The seventh part, not included here, is a long 'ambient' piece entitled Alien Landscape V, and is included on the album Spectrum, a GENRE Series album, FORG 14, released simultaneously with this one.

3. The third section of the disc contains a further six short works, composed between the completion of the electronic pieces and the beginning of the writing of Symphony No 1. Scored mostly for a woodwind ensemble, similar to the one used on the last album, Yelling Graveley, these are partly a development of thematic material suggested by the SPECTRUM pieces, and partly sketches for the different movements of the Symphony. Most, but not all, contain some electronic material from SPECTRUM.

4. The fourth section consists of a single piece, Spectrum of Light, also composed between the completion of the electronic pieces and the beginning of Symphony No 1, using material that was later used for the First Movement of the Symphony, but with the addition of bass guitar, synthesisers and drums.


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