17 October 2008

Summer is rolling to a close, Camelot is but a distant memory, and the score for the latest Red Star animation is in the can, so time for a wee catch up on things that happened earlier this year…

A bee in flight next to a pink wildflower

A little while back I had a lovely chat with Leila Johnston of Hack Circus to talk, amongst other intriguing topics, about musically manipulating people’s emotions (with their consent, obvs 😉 ).

We discussed some of my recent work, simple ways using music and tonality to convey ‘otherness’; how to systematically plot, plan or generally approach a large project; touched on familiarity and referentialism; hearing the sound design of the world; introversion and life design; Slung Low scores, manipulating the audiences’ experience and emotional journey during these shows; working with writers and lyricists in songwriting; the ‘four chords’; being busy (enough) and keeping weekends sacrosanct; using musical terms (or not) with directors in briefing sessions; working with Patrick Stewart for Helium

It was a good chat. :-)

Listen on Libsyn
Listen on iTunes

Image Copyright © H. Fenoughty 2015

Sheffield Crucible Theatre, 9-18 July 2015.

I’ve been working on the score to Camelot: The Shining City solidly for the last month and a half, and it’s all just about plotted and rehearsal-ready. Dress Rehearsals are in a fortnight so we’re in a good place to get into the finer edits.

This has been rather a lovely show to work on so far, not least because it’s on at the Crucible Theatre in my home city of Sheffield. My commute is a 40 minute walk or 15 minute bus ride – usually for a Slung Low show we’re off around the country (or the globe), which means, logistically, I have to be a bit more organised! Not having to worry about these things alone takes some of the pressure off, and leaves a bit more headroom for more appropriate stresses (like getting a 3-hour promenade show scored in time for the first plot session last week, which I just about managed!).

Promotional Image from Camelot: The Shining City, where Bear holds a sword and a gun outside the Crucible Theatre

Photo by James Philips (aka the playwright of this beast of a show)

With a cast of 150, the narrative follows the events in Bear’s life, a girl who, for all intents and purposes, is the reincarnation of Arthur, the Once And Future King of mythical fame. We see her humble beginnings, her education in history and warfare and her eventual ascension to leader of this country, such as it is in near-future, post-apocalyptic-civil-war times… and all that follows.

It’s all rather political, serious and thematically challenging at times – very different from my last show with Slung Low, the exciting, fun (though no less thoughtful in its message) Emergency Story Penguin*! The variety of shows I get to work on with Slung Low and in my other television and film work always keeps me on my toes – and, hopefully, the music fresh. The work’s never dull, always challenging and sometimes I pinch myself with disbelief at the projects that cross my path, especially with Slung Low.

More than this, the reward is seeing the faces of the audience during the show (if you’re going to see it, try to ignore the short brunette attempting to surreptitiously watch you instead of the on-stage action! Heheheh…) when you’ve pitched the audio soundtrack just right with the action, the dialogue, the design, the special effects. These reactions are priceless, the validation keeping a composer’s fragile ego going through the hard times of rejected pitch after pitch (woe is me etc.).

The Albion Choir (VERY appropriately named, no?) were magnificent in singing some of the song arrangements for the show. They’re a fairly new choir based (handily) in Sheffield, a small but mighty bunch of ridiculously talented, close-harmony voices. Here’s a sneak peek at their skills in action:

Camelot: The Shining City plays at Sheffield Crucible Theatre, 9-18 July 2015. It’s expected to sell out so avoid disappointment and get your tickets now.

* Just in case you missed it on tour earlier this year, Emergency Story Penguin returns to… Sheffield Crucible Theatre, this Christmas! Along with 59 Minutes to Save Christmas! It’s all going down in my home town! :-)

New Album Release: Emergency Story Penguin

13 April 2015 Theatre

The soundtrack album of music from Slung Low’s Emergency Story Penguin, a play written by John Hunter and co-produced by Dep Arts, has been released. It’s available on Spotify, Amazon and YouTube; it’ll be on Google Play, iTunes and all the other online outlets soon. For an insight into the process of writing songs – and specifically a breakaway pop hit sensation(!) – for […]

Scoring the Song: Emergency Story Penguin

15 February 2015 Composing Music

In January, I hit the ground running. I sketched out a plot of the cues in the Emergency Story Penguin script, Slung Low’s latest children’s show. I realised there was a lot of music in this show and I better get started pronto!

59 Minutes To Save Christmas at Z-Arts in Manchester

15 December 2014 Theatre

Take the whole family to save Christmas at Z-Arts in Manchester! Made by Slung Low, the show runs until Christmas Eve, and tickets are going fast. Shows are at 11am, 2pm, 4pm and 7pm most days from this Saturday (20th Dec) onwards. — The full album is available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and all other […]

Holey Moley! plays on CITV

5 December 2014 Television

I worked on this brilliant short animation for Kilogramme Animation back in October. It played on CITV throughout November. So much fun! And, *spoiler warning* the mole gets the upper hand at the end so of course I loved it. From the ComposerWorks site: The BAFTA-winning series, run annually by CITV in which children aged […]

The Aviatrix: Capetown to Goodwood

2 November 2014 Film

It’s November, and I’m just wrapping up the mix on a Christmas Ad (more on that when it broadcasts…). Where did the year go?! Earlier in the year I worked on ‘The Aviatrix’ (at the time, its working title was ‘Capetown to Goodwood’), a feature-length documentary about Tracey Curtis-Taylor’s recreation of Lady Heath’s first female-piloted […]

New Album Release: The White Whale

4 October 2014 Theatre

The soundtrack album of music from Slung Low’s The White Whale, an adaptation of Moby Dick by James Philips, is now officially released. It’s available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and all the other online retailers (soon to be on Spotify too, though their databases take a while to populate, so could be a few more weeks yet). Click […]

New CITV Promo Advertisement

1 October 2014 Television

Featuring tunes by yours truly, this fun little promotional ad for CITV has been playing on all the ITV channels for the last month and will hopefully continue for a while yet… CITV Autumn Brand Image 2014  

The White Whale is Up and Running

5 September 2014 Theatre

The White Whale is up and running. It’s sold out and the waiting list has been closed. Some people are resorting to turning up on the night just in case there are audience member no-shows (I’m not suggesting this as a course of action, but I understand that needs must etc.)

What I’ve Learned (so far) from Scoring ‘The White Whale’: Part 3

18 August 2014 Theatre

I’m in the process of scoring The White Whale for Slung Low. It’s on in September. Tickets are free but there aren’t many left… call The Carriageworks Theatre on  0113 2243801 for the last few remaining.  In my last two posts I talked about priming the subconscious to do the heavy lifting when it comes to […]