This Sunday sees the broadcast of Chris Riley’s wonderful account of the life of one of the great thinkers & polymaths of our time, Richard Feynman. I’ve written the music for the film. Here’s are a couple of tracks from the score;
Feynman brilliantly embraced the concept of playing – playing with ideas until they resolved into simple models of extraordinary concepts.
“But when it came time to do some research. I couldn’t get to work. I was a little tired; I was not interested; I couldn’t do research!… And then I thought to myself, “You know, what they think of you is so fantastic, it’s impossible to live up to it. You have no responsibility to live up to it!”… Then I had another thought; Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing – it didn’t have to do with whether it was important for the development of nuclear physics…. So I get this new attitude… I’m going to play with physics, whenever I want to, without worrying about any importance whatsoever. Withing a week I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around, throws a plate in the air…. I had nothing to do, so I start to figure out the motion of the rotating plate… And before I knew it (it was a very short time) I was ‘playing’ – working, really – with the same old problem that I loved so much, that I had stopped working on when I went to Los Alamos; my thesis-type problems; all those old-fashioned wonderful things. It was effortless. It was easy to play with these things. It was like uncorking a bottle: Everything flowed out effortlessly…. There was no importance to what I was doing, but ultimately there was. The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate.” –
A piece of music dedicated to Trey Ratcliff whose work I’ve loved for years.
He is a master of HDR Photography and I met him for the first time last year in Monterey.
This piece is recorded using tuned glass instruments and is an attempt to play with refraction, colour and shade in music.
I’ve no idea if it’s successful but it’s a new direction for me…
Here’s a piece I’ve just written inspired by a fabulous photographer I know called Cole Rise. I love his air of magical realism… hyper-dreamy landscapes where gravity doesn’t quite work in the way it should…
Talvin, Evelyn Glennie & Philip Sheppard – photo Julian Macedo
I’m very happy to announce that Talvin Singh has invited my group, Not So Silent Movies… to perform with him at the Royal Festival Hall on April 14th at 7pm, as part of the Alchemy Festival at the SouthBank Centre.
Not so Silent Movies… is my project which accompanies classic silent film comedies at monthly events at Kings Place. The musicians are extraordinary, as they improvise with no rehearsal, no sheet music, and no previewing of the films.
The Festival Hall group will include, Elspeth Hanson – violin, Pete Furniss – reeds, Mark Neary – bass, Hami – drums, Julia Thornton – harp and me – cello, all performing with Talvin Singh.
We’ll be accompanying a classic of silent Indian Cinema, which none of us will see until the performance itself…
The more I rely on computers to mix and master my music, the more I’m drawn back to pens, pencils, thick bonded paper, Moleskine notebooks, graphite pencils and watercolour blocks. As Marilyn Monroe said; ‘To think in ink..’.
There’s nothing like taking a line for a walk and feeling the resistance of the paper and the give of the pen to swerve you off into a more interesting place than you would have gone in the world of Qwerty.
I was cleaning my desk and I pulled out a copy of a piece I’d transcribed for a friend’s 40th. He’s a Geordie, so it’s an arrangement of ‘Oh Come ye from Newcastle’. He always wears strong glasses and a a cap, and as I was writing, my pen started to veer off into a picture of him..
From there it was a slippery slope to writing in terrible puns in the directions, Da Capo for the return to the baseball cap, the tricky bit along the chin is marked rather hairy, the chords on the mouth are marked as a drone…
I think the medieval calligraphers would have made a better fist of this, but it made him laugh…
[Let me know of any other picture scores in the comments & I can add them in]