A winter's work

Some seasons I have written words in between compositions. More recently it has been the other way round with my work-in-progress standing at 65,000 words and not yet half way. However, it looks like this winter will include some large scale compositions. I have been engaged to provide the music for a classic dramatisation for Audible, period music for a filmed show with an esteemed theatre actress in her 90s, and soundtrack for a documentary on the original Chester cathedral of St. John’s.

Released: "Rhuddlan Castle: Gateway to Wales"

Rhuddlan Castle DVD Cover.jpg

New from Lost in Castles:

Rhuddlan Castle: Gateway to Wales

This is my fourth Lost in Castles score. We started with Middleham Castle in Wensleydale, when I was a new music graduate. Next came Sandal Castle & the Battle of Wakefield, which featured the popular song Edward's Lament. Some years later, work completed on the mammoth documentary "Conwy Castle: Medieval Masterpiece", requiring a 90 minute score. Rhuddlan Castle: Gateway to Wales is the follow-up to Conwy, the second in the series Castles of the Conquest.

These scores are always very special to me. The films require more music than a drama, because the combination of real on-site footage and animated reconstructions requires "bedding in". Also, the historical aspect is always present but often has to be subordinated to focus on the castle, so the music serves to invigorate the pleasure that can be found in touring a castle site, even remotely. All the Lost in Castles scores are available to hear and buy online.

Find out more about the DVD here: http://www.lostincastles.com/rhuddlan-castle/

Dyserth Castle: Lost in Time

The special feature from Rhuddlan Castle: Gateway to Wales. Music by Abigail J. Fox.

Composing for Commissions

In the last few weeks I have had a series of commissions to fulfil, most of which cannot be shared here as musical examples due to permission and rights:

  • 4 and 1/2 minute score for an animation, which shows an old dam being converted to provide hydroelectric power. This was used for a presentation within days of completion and I hear it went extremely well.
  • Three short promo film scores for an existing client. 
  • Six instructional videos to demonstrate bespoke cleaning products, to be used at an internal company event next Wednesday. 
  • A welcome song for a play group age 0-3 years, still in development. 
  • Three minute track in preparation for a montage edit of a live event next week.
  • Stings for the start/end of videos for an existing corporate client.

Scoring is always a challenge because you have to subordinate the musical idea to the needs of the images, without it appearing to be compromise. You can learn how to do it better, but you still have to face unique corners in every film. In some ways, dramatic scoring is much easier than corporate because in drama the composer has licence to impose and make grand gestures. The best corporate scoring is only felt and never heard. It has to be very tight and to the point, without any scope for so-called "artistic" temperament. 

The song has been an enjoyable counterpoint to these scores and a great opportunity to spend an hour or two recording again. It's 15 years since I was handing in my A Level composition coursework, including a multi-tracked musical number I had written for The Little Princess. 

Rhuddlan Castle: Gateway to Wales

Rhuddlan Castle: Gateway to Wales is the latest Lost in Castles feature-documentary. The score is just under 70 minutes long. It follows on from the 45 minute score for Middleham Castle, 75 minute score for Sandal Castle and 90 minutes for Conwy Castle. The score for Rhuddlan will soon be available to buy / download. As with the previous films, it is a rich and melodic orchestral score. Before the DVD of Rhuddlan Castle is available, I will have the pleasure to score a short extra feature on Dyserth Castle, to appear on the same DVD. Here is a sneak preview of the Dyserth Castle reconstruction by Lost in Castles:

Diserth Castle 23.jpg

Conwy Castle Soundtrack - available now

Conwy CD.jpg

Conwy Castle: Medieval Masterpiece is a feature-length documentary from Lost in Castles. The score is around 90 minutes long and available now from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify ... the full soundtrack of Conwy Castle:

  1. The Conquest
  2. The Queen
  3. Saint George
  4. Come the Feast
  5. By Boat
  6. Glory and Honour
  7. Bread and Wolfhounds
  8. Gatekeeper
  9. Lost in the Skies
  10. Court of the King
  11. Sleeping Giant
  12. Beneath the Arches
  13. Frozen in Time
  14. Cellar to Chimney
  15. This was Conwy
  16. Shadow of Splendour

Bodrhyddan Hall

After completion of Beauty and Joy: The Christian Nature of Music, my compositional style started to develop. Instead of wondering what music is and how my new compositions reveal something about me, I focused on music as a proclamation of worth. This considerably changed my approach to composition from a vague, searching for answers towards a statement of ideas with confidence. This piece was the first step on that road.