Affairs of State is a collection of orchestral tracks in varied moods yet unified by all sharing a majestic stately feel. The intention is that they would be well suited for use in documentaries about Royalty, National Institutions, Stately Homes indeed anything which requires something with a hint of formality.
So what makes music sound formal in that way? There are plenty of famous classical works such as Handel’s Zadok The Priest and Water Music & Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance Marches that have been used innumerable times to convey royalty, aristocracy, traditional institutions. Apart from wanting to avoid the thankless task of attempting to write classical music that stands up well against some formidable originals, I was also after something that was slightly less ‘in your face’ royal! What a lot of those classical works share though is a very measured and reinforced sense of pulse, a kind of processional quality if you like and it was this I took as a starting point.
I chose a chamber orchestra line up, without any heavy brass as a rousing, patriotic ‘Land of Hope & Glory’ approach was not the brief. Thinking ‘measured tread’ I then set about writing tracks in different moods which all had a sense of that throughout. Sense of Duty has a pastoral, relatively sunny disposition whereas Quiet Grandeur has a very dignified, positive quietly confident and reflective feel to it with just a hint of the military. Uncertain Times conveys a sense of measured building tension (‘pacing the corridors of power’). After the year we’ve had in the UK, politically, I feel perhaps my original title ‘Constitutional Crisis’ was more apt!
The album was recorded in Abbey Road Studio 2 in July with the English Session Orchestra.