By Ian Fleming
It's always quite nerve-racking to have your much cherished composition played for the first time on real instruments. Of course I had heard my string quartet before, but this was on virtual instruments that can somehow play your music both perfectly and horrendously at the same time. When this is all you've got to go by, you can never be certain that what you've written is even possible. For this reason, many composers, especially those who are starting out, fear writing for instruments that they cannot play.
Writing my quartet was no exception and when I went along to our MCC meeting to hear my work, I feared the worst. I feared that the parts would all be impossible to play and that I would have to re-write everything. I was also a bit scared that everyone would think the music was rubbish. It turns out that 99% of it was totally possible to perform and I was even told that my "...string writing is great!"
I still can't be entirely sure that the music isn't rubbish but at least it turns out that I can successfully write for instruments other than the piano. Despite the tension that goes with hearing your work for the first time, I was also really excited and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The quartet, made up of talented local string players (including a member of the MCC), performed beautifully despite having never played together as a group before. As somebody who does not particularly enjoy performing, it is always rather refreshing to sit back and relax while other people do all the work.
As I write this ideas for my second quartet piece are already forming. Watch this space for details of when and where you can hear the quartets live for yourself.