Joined: Aug. 2010
||Posted: Aug. 21 2012, 13:09
|I had wanted to write a long classical piece for an orchestra and Music of the Spheres was the result. Although there had been an orchestral version of Tubular Bells, I wasn't involved with that project and had never written an entire work specifically for an orchestra. I didn't have the musical training to write classical music and so I enlisted the help of the composer Karl Jenkins to work on the project. Karl had been a member of Soft Machine, and he reminded me when I first contacted him that we had actually met and worked together when I performed Tubular Bells for BBC TV in 1973. He played the oboe during that performance and I remember that he only had a few notes to play, and he sat patiently throughout the piece waiting for this section. I was living near Bristol and he was based in the Gower Peninsula in Wales and so he came to see me and agreed to do the orchestrations. I would make a sample version of the work, using MIDI and so on, and this would then be put into a computer programme* called Sibelius which printed a score of the music. I was looking for a suitable vocalist and my record company for this album, Universal Classics and Jazz, suggested Hayley Westenra, who came to Abbey Road Studios and sang beautifully on the piece On My Heart.|
The Tempest was another piece from the album that I was very pleased with. Sibelius was one of the first classical composers that really made an impression on me. He had a way of combining fast strings with very slow brass parts. It was a very odd time signature for a classic work, but it came together perfectly.
To promote the album a special concert was staged in Bilbao at the Guggenheim Museum. I had foolishly agreed to do twenty or so interviews the day of the concert and was pretty exhausted. The concert concert was the first time that I had actually played with an orchestra following a conductor, instead of playing to a click track. Conducting is an imprecise thing. One would think that the downward stroke of the baton represented the actual click, but because an orchestra actually plays behind, the beat actually looks more like the upward stroke of the baton, so I was trying to follow this wondering which baton movements I would follow. The combination of this and feeling tired from the promotional interviews led me to play the most god awful wrong note during my solo part that was a complete semi-tone out of tune. It felt as though I had made the most terrible smell and Hayley Westenra wrinkled her nose up and glanced at me - that's what happens when a rock musician enters the classical music world!
*As spelt in the booklet. Lots of US spellings and now a UK spelling right when it wasn't appropriate.