01: Introduction

Richard Gill, Robert Johnson & Christopher Gordon

Richard Gill, Robert Johnson & Christopher Gordon

Hello, I’m Christopher Gordon and I’m composing a Concerto for Horn and Orchestra for the Sydney Symphony and their principal horn player, Robert Johnson.

They are going to premiere it at the Sydney Opera House in September 2009, with Richard Gill conducting.

I am often asked how a composer comes up with his or her ideas. Questions like:

“Do you get an overall concept first or does that become apparent after a process of trial and error?”

“How do you write for all those different instruments?”

“Do you compose best at day or at night?”

“How long does it take to compose a piece?”

“When are you going to get a real job?”

We thought it might be interesting to start a website to try and answer some of these questions and give people an opportunity to ask more questions through the comments box at the bottom of each post.I’ll try to answer any questions either there or within the blog. And feel free to ask Robert Johnson any questions you might have about the horn and its repertoire. [UPDATE: due to a large volume of spam the comments have been closed on all the posts, except 47: LISTEN TO LIGHTFALL. So jump over there if you want to leave a comment.]

The composer’s blog will follow the creation of the concerto from initial concepts, through the composition process (including a number of false starts and dead ends), leading up to the rehearsal and performance.

We’ll put up pdfs of sketches and, when it is finished, the full score. Also some audio examples, photos and possibly some video moments as well.

Hopefully this will be of interest to both the general music-loving public and serious music students.

Being a casual website, updates will occur randomly. If you like you can subscribe to the RSS feeds on the left of your screen. Then you will be alerted every time there’s an update.

As I write, it is the last week of February 2009 and we had agreed that I would deliver the finished concerto this week. I am well and truly behind. So stay tuned to find out how I got into this merry mess and whether I can get myself out of it.

I’m looking forward to your company.

Begin by reading 02: Getting a Commission