ROAD TEST (2018)
Commissioned by the QCGU Wind Orchestra - Dr Peter Morris, Conductor
Premiere: 4 October 2018. Australian National Band and Orchestra Conference, Brisbane.
Road Test was born out of my favourite part of the composing process. Despite my initial planning, I often reach a stage of the process where I like to entertain other possibilities and functions for the musical material that I have created. I make malleable musical maps of manuscript paper spread across the floor, moving the sketches of each section from one place to another, re-contextualising an introduction into a transitory idea, displacing a climax, or dispersing energy in a place where momentum was once built.
In this piece, I wanted the performers to be able to experience the delight of this part of the composing process; imagining and re- imagining the musical possibilities in front of them. Whilst contemplating how I could make this work, I started thinking about the series of Choose Your Own Adventure books that I had read as a child. In these books, the reader takes an active role in determining the narrative. At the end of each chapter, the reader faces a number of options and chooses which section to read next. Each chapter leads to new narrative possibilities and a range of different endings. When I read these books as a child, I would often be paralysed by choice. It was not uncommon for me to keep my options open, with objects marking the pages so that I could return and explore all the potential possibilities. A similar process is used in Road Test, inviting the performers to ‘road test’ different contextual possibilities for the musical material.
Road Test was commissioned by the Queensland Conservatorium Wind Orchestra, with the intention of contributing a work to the Grade 4-5 Australian wind band repertoire. The piece premiered at the 2018 Australian National Band and Orchestra Conference (ANBOC) in Brisbane, Australia.