I am going to review a performance lecture given by Judith Weir and David Horne on the subject of scoring techniques and the performance of unconventional scores; this includes graphical scores and music that cannot be described in conventional notation.
The event takes place at the Purcell School of Music on the 7th of August, 2018, as part of the Sound and Music summer school. After this talk I will describe my views on it. A large part of the lecture was centred around ‘Sundew’, a piece written by Judith Weir which was performed by Tom Kemp on Violin, and Richard Harwood on Cello. It was performed twice – once from the original semi-graphical score, and once from a more open graphical score which didn’t specify exact pitch.
In both scores, timing was open to interpretation. I enjoyed listening to both versions, and I feel that this helped the audience to understand how different types of score can affect the sound produced. I do however think it might have been more authentic if the performers had played the version without discrete pitch before seeing what the original pitches were. I found the talk to be a very rewarding experience; it helped to open my mind and served as a source of inspiration. I found the performances very enjoyable and it was uniquely useful to be able to watch a graphical score being interpreted live, by professional musicians.
The discussion was thought provoking and a good range of points were successfully covered in a short period of time. I feel that I learned a lot about how unconventional scores can be written and interpreted. I also learned more about how different freedoms can be ceded to the performers by composers, and left feeling encouraged to compose in a less rigid way than I have previously. One thing that I would have liked would have been a question and answer session at the end, so that members of the audience could share their queries with one another at the same time as presenting them to the speakers.