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The strange world of spiders

Programme notes

This piece was commissioned as the set piece for the London International Guitar Competition 2019. At home, opposite the table where I usually compose, there are two large windows giving me a wide view of the sky. When I was writing this piece, during summer, one of the windows was broken and wouldn’t open. A dozen spiders of various sizes took up residence outside the window and, every time I sat down to compose, all I could look at were their mesmerising movements and webs. I’ve always been scared of spiders, but through the safety of the glass, I found them fascinating to watch! It was particularly evocative at sunset, when the magical colours of the fading sky lent a grandeur and epic quality to their movements.

In the piece, I wanted to convey their eerie, mesmerizing quality by creating an unusual sound world with a glass slide and capo. Near the end of the piece, there is a big, hypnotic build-up in which their majesty and grandeur take over; then, at the end, they tip-tap quietly into the distance.

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