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Waste Not Want Not

Waste Not Want Not

Sometimes, the creative path to a finished piece of music is not an entirely straight one. One can have good ideas but either they are channelled into the wrong vehicle or circumstances beyond one’s control conspire to mean that they don’t see the light of day. When this happens it can be all the more gratifying when eventually they find their true home and no one has any idea that actually they originally germinated on a completely different project.


The two tracks of mine that feature on the Cavendish production music library ‘Moviedrome’ album recorded all the way book in 2002 are good examples of this. Back in the early 90s I embarked on a project to write a big concert work based Homer’s ‘Odyssey’. It seemed a good idea at the time but after quite a slug of work sketching a number of movements, I lost confidence in the whole direction of the project and in particular the practicalities of how it was ever going to see the light of day. Amongst all the material I had already written, I was particularly fond of a recurring emblematic theme that represented the heroic Odysseus and his heartfelt yearning to return home and be reunited with his wife Penelope and it pained me that it lay in the wreckage of the abandoned project. Some 10 years passed before it dawned on me that the very same theme could be reworked into a sweeping romantic lyrical ‘Tour de Force’ for the ‘Moviedrome’ album. As far as I recall the melody itself remained exactly the same but the scoring and arrangement were dramatically different as I now had a full symphony orchestra at my disposal and also the Hollywood treatment seemed to demand a more romantic, opulent, emotionally charged use of the material. The full span of the melody is repeated three times; it starts relatively simply but grows in emotional intensity, echoed in the complexity of the arrangement, on each rendition. I called the track Quest in a nod to the music’s origins in the Odyssey project but at the same time it still felt appropriate in it’s ‘Moviedrome’ guise.


The other track on the album is called Courageous and also started life in the early 90’s but this time as a pitch for a ‘Captain Bird’s Eye’ Fishfinger commercial! The pitch was always destined for failure, one of those where you discover the director’s nephew gets the gig no matter what the other demos are like. The film for the commercial was only some 40 seconds long and filled with sync points so there simply wasn’t the space to create more than a snappy superhero like motif at the time. I did think the motif had some merit though and it proved to be a useful starting point for the heroic ‘Courageous’ track. The motif was extended into a full melody with a completely new middle 8 section added. The style of the scoring remained roughly the same as it has always been intended to sound as if it were a superhero film score but the structural changes to the melody really meant that all the musical details of the arrangement changed.


Maybe all of this means I’m a cheapskate when it comes to musical material but actually I think it’s much more that if a musical ‘nugget’ has true worth and survives the test of time in one’s musical pysche, it seems crazy not to find a home for it provided it fits the brief one’s writing for.