Tropos is an ancient Greek word meaning a turning towards. In English, it is the root of the word tropism, referring to the tendency for the structure of plants to turn towards the sun (phototropism) or for the roots of plants to grow towards the sound of water (phonotropism). The intention of the music is to describe this turning towards the source of life. The shape of every tree is a manifestation of individual struggles to reach for life in every condition, climate or soil.
Ritual always requires movement, and drums facilitate that through entrainment and embodiment. It should be no surprise that drums are the most ancient instrument in the history of humankind. With this in mind, consider that all of life can be seen as a rhythmic or periodical experience, and by extension the role of the drummer can be seen as the embodiment of the passage of time itself.
Gardens are a beautiful way of organising nature in harmony with human life and human needs. The idea of Gardens on Mars reflects upon the idea of a very simple human joy, placed in harsh otherworldly conditions. The piece nods towards the efforts of man to reach and colonise Mars such as the Mars Generation have been doing, while describing the growth of flowing flora and genius mechanisms for sustaining them.
Rhythm is ubiquitous to both machines and life itself. This piece seeks to discover what music can be found at the borders between beat, pulse and tone. Within the music, several lines emerge, expand into patterns and collapse into blocks through independent acceleration and deceleration. The music illustrates whirring machinery, changing gears, and the formation of harmonic fields at places where tempos lock together. These also fall apart due to the actions of little ‘devils’ in the machinery.
For solo multi-instrumentalist on Soprano and Baritone Saxophones, 2 Timpani and Electronics. A tumulus is a burial mound built by pagan cultures found throughout Northern Europe, and Asia to house their dead. I encountered the Viking tumuli in Uppsala, Sweden in the winter of 2011 and their huge and lonely curves stretching into the snowy distance left me with a deep impression. No amount of ideological conflict and change that occurred between Christian and Pagan peoples in the last 1500 years have erased these markings from the landscape. A poignant reminder of wrestlings with our own beliefs about death and the afterlife from the perspective of a long and mostly forgotten history. The music juxtaposes the sound of Christian and Pagan worship and ritual, structured in sections that reach further and further back in time. Electronic effects create canonic, textural, and timbral changes thoughout the work. These can be controlled live offstage, or be fully automated. Tumulus is a work for a solo multi-instrumentalist and written specially for the saxophonist Arvydas Kazlauskas.
This work is poetically inspired by gravitational anomolies on the moon - in particular 5 landscapes known as Mares or “Seas”. The moon’s crust varies in mass due to impact craters and embedded asteroids. The additional mass results in spots of stronger gravity which have been mapped and calculated by NASA’s GRAIL mission. The piece is structured over five sections, each containing music intuitively abstracted from the varying landscapes and gravity observed on orbital paths over 5 of the moon’s Mares. The title refers to the stark lunar landscape as a “White Sea”, the Mares being “Whirlpools” of concentrated gravity encountered whilst traversing them from chosen orbits. I. Mare Vaporum - Sea of Vapors II. Mare Orientale - Eastern Sea III. Mare Nubium - Sea of Clouds IV. Mare Crisium - Sea of Crises V. Mare Tranquillitatis - Sea of Tranquility
Tides and shadows both mark the passage of time. Tides hide and reveal features of the shore in recurring surges, while shadows move across a landscape accompanying the hour. The title also represents tides and shadows as resulting forces of gravity and light - will and faith. One may wrestle against a tide, or be swept out with it. Patterns from the past cast shadows into the future, however they may never fully come into focus, offering only a glimpse of what might be. These concepts are used poetically in this music. The work is structured over four chapters describing cyclic changes that time brings, and a struggle with faith as forces turn for or against one’s will. Yet the miracle and grace of life is overwhelmingly beautiful without analysis. This is therefore a highly emotional work, with which I hope to convey a maximum amount of expressiveness, honesty and lucidity. For my mother and father.
Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Accordion, Piano, Percussion Originally written for classical guitar, harpsichord and percussion, the music was later adapted to its current instrumentation.
Voices in 8 parts, Piano, Harp Percussion I am hoping to reveal a sense of the spiritual. Not a religious spirituality but one which simply acknowledges the soul - the part of us that goes beyond death - and causes us to ponder the meaning of our reality. Music is a spiritual vehicle, and I hope that the music, words and visual experience will invoke an atmosphere of reverence or at least a sense of courage and peace.
Percussion Duo. Three short episodes concerning the character of spiders' movements and architecture.
A childhood spent near the world's busiest port afforded many impressions and visions of the great ships. Living once more in a port city has perhaps reawakened some of these.
Solo Cello, Tape. Numeric data on the planetary resonances and orbits govern all aspects of two movements of drone music. These two movements are to be played back to back- a tape part against which a solo cellist performs a semi-improvisation from a graphically notated score.
String Orchestra. Large flocks of birds seem to sculpt undulating clouds of shared consciousness; they suggest music to the eyes. A fascination with nature's swarms became a study in sculpting sonority and texture from homogeneous timbres and minimal tonal material. After an introduction and a theme, three scenes develop representing murmurations found in nature from fish to birds to insects. The different swarms then are woven together before returning to the theme.
Wind Orchestra The title Leaves upon the Wind was inspired by the Latvian poet Rainis’s book of poetry by the same name, “Vēja nesta lapas”. The piece attempts to mimic the many mannerisms of the wind both in sound and vision, presenting various scenes and behaviours in a continuous sequence. It is mostly a tonal work, combining spectral harmonic ideas with the complex yet delicate rhythms of wind-activated sounds and textures.
Saxophone ensemble: 3 Sop, 3 Alt, 3 Ten, 3 Bar. The movement of time within dreams is beautiful and mysterious, as is the way scenes change. Reflections on a lake are broken by rain or ripples under skimming rocks but underwater life carries on serenely, rocked by other currents.
Piano, Violin, Cello Written one late spring afternoon. Brought on by a strange combination of hail and sunshine, marking the end of the season.
English Horn, Tuba, Timpani, 3 Percussion, Harp, Piano, 2 Violins, Cello Fascinations with sacred geometry, origami and minimalist thought were the seeds for this early work. The structure unfolds and obscures a part of itself over a sequence of conflicting materials before breaking through to a vision of simpler, more profound beauty.
Orchestra Light divides itself and changes speed when it enters different mediums. Refractions in amber is an expression of the behaviour of light passing through Air, Water and the Baltic sea jewel Amber. The piece also endeavours to illuminate the beauty of this jewel, and the memories contained within.
Mixed Choir This short piece uses three separate texts gleaned from Krishna Barona’s ‘Dainas’. The focus of this work was to combine the texts in a meaningful way and to use them as a starting point for shaping a narrative melody.
4 Accordions, Violin, Cello Working with primitive electronics involve the process of tuning into frequencies or shaping sound-waves. I want to express the tactile experience of turning knobs or flipping switches as an element in this piece. I want to use minimal, mostly tonal pitch material, focusing more on rhythm, structure and an electronic yet tactile sound palette. I hope that this piece will be imbued the sound world of synthesizers, radios and similar analogue audio equipment.
Contemporary / Classical
These works represent my output during and after training in contemporary academic composition from 2010 onwards. It was when I moved to Riga in 2012 that I began to discover my own language within musical design, and since then I have tried to output 3-5 works each year.
I invite you to listen to the recordings below, categorised according to ensemble size: Orchestral, Ensemble, Solo/Duo.
FOR THE LARGE CANVAS
Writing for the orchestral palette provides the ultimate opportunity for the maximum range of musical colours and forces. These have been the most challenging and rewarding experiences, working with some of the finest musicians and conductors in Latvia and beyond.
ENSEMBLE / CHOIR
FOR 4 - 24 INSTRUMENTS / VOICES
Writing for ensembles is exciting and gives many opportunities to explore possibilities within specific constellations. It's been strictly a pleasure working with each of these groups to realise performances and projects to completion.
SOLO / DUO / TRIO
FOR 1 - 3 INSTRUMENTS / VOICES
These works focus on one to three players only, an opportunity to maximally explore the potential possibilities of each instrument or voice. Working with individuals allows for a more intimate understanding of their natural strengths and preferences, and has led to meaningful and fruitful collaborations.
For solo multi-instrumentalist Arvydas Kazlauskas
Tumulus is an adventurous work for solo multi-instrumentalist Arvydas Kazlauskas, on saxophones and timpani. Premiered on April 11 2017 at Riga Saxophone Days Festival held at Jazep Vitols Latvian Music Academy.
For Orchestra 'DD'
REFRACTIONS IN AMBER
Light divides itself and changes speed when it enters different mediums. Refractions in Amber is an expression of light’s journey: passing first through Air, then Water and finally the Baltic sea jewel Amber. The music also endeavours to illuminate the beauty of this jewel, and the memories contained within.
For JVLMA Mixed Choir
AUGSTI DZIED CIRULIS
Performed in Riga and Rezekne, in March 2014, conducted by Maris Sirmais. This short piece uses three separate texts gleaned from Krisjana Barona's 'Dainas'. The focus of this work was to combine the texts in a meaningful way and to use them as a starting point for shaping a narrative melody.
For Saxophone Ensemble
LAKE OF DREAMS available at Forton Music
Performed by 12 saxophones from Jazep Vitols Latvian Academy of Music, Riga and Sibelius Academy, Helsinki in November 2014. The movement of time within dreams in beautiful and mysterious, as in the way scenes change. Reflections on a lake are broken by rain or ripples under skimming rocks but underwater life carries on serenely, rocked by other currents.
LIST OF WORKS
Hail & Sunshine - for piano trio
Furrows in the Fold - for mixed ensemble
Asylum & Refuge - for mixed ensemble
Planetarium - for solo cello, electronics and tape
Ships - for brass quintet
Spindles - for percussion duo
On Mountain Stone - for mixed ensemble
Murmurations - for string orchestra “Sinfonietta Riga”
Augsti Dzied Cirulis - for mixed choir “JVLMA”
Lake of Dreams - for saxophone choir available at Forton Music
Five Orationes - for piano and violin
Cirqitri - for accordion quartet and strings
Refractions in Amber - for orchestra “DD”
Cosmic Radio - for recorder and voice duo “Ums ‘n Jip”
The Dark Continent - for french horn and percussion
Ubi Est Mors - for choir “Dziesmuvara” and ensemble
Leaves Upon the Wind - for wind orchestra “Riga” available at Forton Music.
Tides and Shadows - for orchestra "DD"
Rituals - for mixed choir "JVLMA", piano and percussion
Whirlpools in a White Sea - for cello and piano
Tumulus - for solo multi-instrumentalist (saxophones & timpani)
Mechanical Devils - for Percussion Trio "Perpetuum Ritmico"
Gardens on Mars - for Saxophone Quartet "Atomos" available at Forton Music
Undulatorium - for solo drummer and electronics
Tropos - for chamber orchestra "Sinfonietta Riga" with real-time audio-reactive EEG visualisation
Downhill Ski - for two pianos and two marimbas