When Geoff Matthews from Ari Mounted approached me to collaborate with him on involving a musical component to this creative exhibition, I was intrigued as to how it could be implemented. Paul Laszlo and I met with Geoff and Mark Denny and viewed the piece that Peter Cobbin had created around his music.. The dilemma was how to describe what we were looking to achieve. A piece of music evokes many emotions which is evidenced by the widespread and growing use of music in the mental health and dementia arena so we know that music makes people feel something. One can put into words how it makes you feel in prose or poem which is easy to understand and one can see a visual response and also understand the relevance, but how to respond musically creates another abstract. We tossed it around a bit and I put the idea to a few musicians/composers and the response was generally confused. Do we want a continuation of the piece already written, does it have to be in the same key, does it have to be written in the style of and so on. I put the EOI out to a number of musical forums and there was a flurry of interest but very few concrete applications came back. The question had only to be “How does it make you feel ?” As someone who grew up in a storytelling family I both write stories down and write them into my music and I was very aware of how much more difficult it is to create a storytelling piece of music which is cohesive and makes sense as a response to something. So interest drifted off and it became narrowed down somewhat in regards to the participants. I therefore encouraged a couple of my students to contribute and found that watching the development by asking a few questions and hearing the musical response has been quite wonderful. The works of the musicians who have created responses to Peter’s piece are diverse but somehow connected through his emotive presentation. The other element is that these have to be composed and recorded which does complicate the process somewhat depending on the instrumentation required and many other factors. But we have definitely achieved something here and I’m very proud to have been invited into the project. I must thank Liam Denny for his help in mastering the variously recorded pieces
Just as serendipitous aside, Peter Cobbin has described being expose to Pyr Gynt’s “Morning” at school which was an inspiration for him. I had the same experience of being stopped in my tracks by the same piece at a Catholic Girl’s School on the other side of the country (in WA ) I played classical guitar which girls didn’t do unless to impress the visiting archbishop on behalf of the sisterhood, so I was a pariah. But we came to an understanding when that piece was played in the classroom. I still love that piece and I would say it has been part of my determination and career path to play double bass in symphony orchestras so it’s fascinating that it has been the inspiration behind Peter Cobbin’s work.