That I drop down into this formless, dull space, that I actually stand on my own two feet — for here, in composition, I have absolutely no qualms, no questions, about what occurs in the end. There is no thought to please, no external pressure of any kind. Here is the only place I can go where I am free from the anxieties and weaknesses of relying, or expecting anything; the fullness of my own greater Self is all. To stay within this realm of creative work and thought is the only necessity and any irritations arise from not doing so.
In the corner under the garret… (only after I wrote this did I realize these words are from “For What I Know”, a song I recorded in 1999 on my first album, When I Left Loss)
Host Jackie Rose says this: “It took a lot of courage for Laura to put this music out there. I know it’s taken courage for me to even play it.”
Beginning with a music sample from “Aberfan”, here is a short portion of my recent radio interview with Jackie for “Northern Star Radio”, WMCB, Greenfield.
If you’d like to hear the full interview:
July 30, 2015 WICN 90.5FM Talking about “Aberfan” with host Nick Noble on “The Folk Revival”. Thursday 7-11PM (EST). Nick has long been a supporter of my music, I really look forward to our interview.
Dave Petley has included a beautifully written post about Aberfan in his series “Landslides in Art” on AGU Blogosphere, The Landslide Blog.
I first wrote to Dave in May 2013 after reading his post, commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, which was so helpful in picturing and understanding how this catastrophe occurred, what led up to it and what followed, all vital to the composition.
Dave Petley is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue) is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
“This area of South Wales has a wet climate and the hillsides are marked by lines of springs.” (AGU Blogosphere)
Therefore, Aberfan begins with the Rain Sequence. My workspace is in the attic and the idea to layer pianos originated as I listened to the rain on our metal roof so close above me.
Here is a short demo sample of 7 pianos, all playing the same part, entering moments slightly apart from one another, each with its own tempo.
To make sure that Aberfan can be recorded, please donate at www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan.
“Art that is simply willed is not art.” (Thomas Merton)
Several concepts were embedded in the process of composing Aberfan. These became emotional and compositional imperatives, apparent only as I went along. Chaos, the spiraling of events, silence after trauma, the absolute necessity that what wrenches, what pulls at the heart and hurts, be contained in the tension between how things were and how things could have been.
MUSIC SAMPLES of work in progress
Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax deductible. Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.
Discussing Aberfan and listening to excerpts of music from the composition with host Jackie Rose for “Northern Star Radio” on Greenfield’s station, WMCB, 107.9 FM
Airs Friday, June 5th, 6-7PM, and Sunday, June 7th, 5-6PM. Streaming on the web @ WMCB.net.