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  A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  Misuc at 09:50 on 30 June 2009

Musicians with

a]a reasonable level of instrumental competence
b]a high level of musicianship,curiosity, imagination and seriousness of purpose
c]regular easy access to North London

are invited to share in creating a performing group - provisionally called LONDON FREE MUSIC ENSEMBLE - to play music of the greatest possible variety of cultures and periods

[a regular pattern of 3-4+ rehearsals + concert: no money changes hands]

This invitation is open to composers on this list and also to other players you may know. The sooner replies come in the sooner we can get started.

You can email me direct at


NO COMMERCIAL PUFFS {cf recknagel et al)

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  MartinY at 08:28 on 02 July 2009

Sounds a really good idea Misuc. Pity I am so far away in the wilds of Yorkshire. I wondered about setting something like that up here, (without the concert of course), but I do not think anyone is interested in Barnsley........

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  Misuc at 09:33 on 02 July 2009

Barnsley! It is not so very long since the fate of the world depended on what happened in Barnsley!

Unfortunately the enemies of civilisation won and the town was destroyed.

As for the fate of the world, well things are unimaginably worse....

But now I see the Poles have arrived and the Arctic Monkeys are touring Poland and East Europe,there are thousands of Barnsley bands advertised and you don't seem to be doing too bad yourself for culture....and the countryside....

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  MartinY at 15:30 on 02 July 2009

Yes - the countryside around Barnsley is surprisingly fine. There is still lots of brass band activity but not many string players. My wife and I get string quartet playing and a piano trio but have to travel to West Yorkshire for that, unless they come here. There are definitely no viols in Barnsley, (do you remember what John Prescott said? - it is not true).

I did write a piece for brass band in 1970 and made a set of parts. It was played and liked but I think all the material is still in the band junk or the bin 40 years later. I recycled the tune and harmony into a string piece, so it still lives.

The band critics comment was - It is very nice but there is not enough oompah. File that away for future use when attending a tuba concerto premier.

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  piargno at 03:35 on 04 July 2009

If I weren't living in Boulder, CO, I would totally be there. Sad ... Best of luck! :-D

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  Jim Tribble at 21:37 on 12 July 2009

Hi Misuc, sorry I am in Scotland. Good start though, only way forward.
Anyone interested in doing something near St Andrews?


  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  MartinY at 16:54 on 20 July 2009

Now we ought to be able to use technology to overcome geographical distance. I am not suggesting using something like the UTube orchestra but using publication technology.......

With the music I produce for summer schools I am experimenting with a new way of preserving the music. For years we have had as well as proper bound scores and parts from commercial publishers and lots of stuff on ink jet printer output which gets both dog eared and lost very quickly. I found a booklet printer near the university and started having proper booklets printed for the summer school which was much better than grotty sheets of A4 single sided printing though it took a lot of organisation and preparation to get the right stuff in the right books what with C-clefs and transposing instruments etc.

I intend now to put the proper books on Lulu so they will be preserved and available to all for the forseeable future and other paper stuff on free download sites like IMSLP and Werner Icking.

Now it would be possible to have a competition where every submission was a winner. Say you asked for string quartet pieces which were short - 2 pages of open A4 in score, no turnovers. Everyone who wanted could submit 2 pages of pdf and all the quartets could be printed. If there was no author charge and the books were sold at printing / postage cost there would be no problem of distributing royalties. If you found another publisher the piece could be easily removed from all future prints and the copyright would always be assigned to the composer. This might allow new repertoire to be created if all the pieces were for say treble recorder, violin and guitar or two trombones and celesta or whatever.... (The whole book needs to be for a fairly similar combination if players are to buy them.)

I like the idea of each player having the same part book though I do like individual part books even better as players play better when they are listening not reading. You can get a 4 page piece in a book with no turnovers if you make partial scores, violins on one open page, viola and 'cello on the next open page. You might not think it is not proper publishing but it could get some chamber music actually PLAYED. Any reactions?

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  Misuc at 10:22 on 21 July 2009

A great idea, Martin - and nothing like what I was talking about! What I meant was an ensemble to perform for its own pleasure and before others. I used to conduct an 'orchestra for all' at Morley College, and have got together various wind ensembles, folk orchestras, classical orchestras, improvising ensembles etc. for community festivals etc. I have thousands of scores & parts of hair-raising music of all centuries [only a very little of it by me] which do not require very advanced technique or much rehearsal when you have experienced musicians - and which are very much appreciated by audiences too. The mix of professionals and amateurs, a more informal flexible relationship between listeners and performers, insistence on limiting the music performed to that which is mind-stretching, which is capable of developing the heart, brain and imagination of everybody concerned - and absolutely no bullshit - to recreate all this purposively and on a regular basis would be a wonderful thing to do, I think.

Martin's idea, however, is, as I say, brilliant too. One could serve the other.

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  MartinY at 11:55 on 21 July 2009

I have just ordered some of my editions from lulu. The page layout drove me round the bend for about 4 hours but I got there eventually. The basic cost is about 2 pounds 20 pence for 40 pages with a nice colour cover. This price can be very considerably beaten by local printers, probably down to as low as 80 pence for a plain 40 page booklet.

However the lulu version is immediately international, has a colour cover, and you do not have the nightmare of packaging and posting out music which a composer certainly does not want to get into on a daily basis. You can still use local printing for when you are able to carry it yourself to the venue and use the lulu method as a high class archiving / distribution / international service.

One word of warning. In a saddle stitched booklet the first content page is called page 2 even though it is a right hand page. The front cover is page 1.

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  Jim Tribble at 13:20 on 21 July 2009

Great idea Martin. How can we move it forward? Someone will have to co-ordinate.

Sorry to put a damper on the idea, but what about a website like mine, where the music is in PDF form and free to print off. That way there is no headache of co-ordination and any combination could be created easily.

I know someone will have to run/set up the website, but it is not a difficult job and costs around 50 a year.

By the by and not for self interest, if anyone is interested in putting their free pdf versions onto my website with their own name and pages. There is no charge and this is part of why I set up the site.

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  MartinY at 07:52 on 23 July 2009

Yes Jim - your site is a good idea. Pdfs are fine but once you have printed off a couple of hundred of the things you have a problem.

Also one embarassing problem can be when you have successfully done a piece from a pile of A4, file it away and on its next outing there are a couple of sheets missing and the piece can't proceed. I was trying to find a solution where one can have cheap downloads and proper books which are more maintainable. This immediately gets you into a different set of problems of anthologizing (is that a word?), copyright, royalties and layout planning.

  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  Jim Tribble at 11:01 on 28 July 2009

Hi Martin,
Anthologising, is already a problem for musicians. I have about 23 foot of shelf space for music books. Many of them single sheet. On stored music albums, collections, and i music I have potentially a room full on my computer. If the music is available in a pdf form you can view and organise it electronically, and only print off what you need.
I think copyright in its present form is on its way out. It will become an increasingly technical war between those who are honest and those who don't care. For myself I use, as you can see on the website, an open copyright approach. My main purpose is to get someone somewhere playing my music and giving me feedback (which sadly has not happened in the 4 years of the website) so that I can grow.
I would like my music to be commercially viable, but I have a lack of recording equipment, money and time. Also the industry is extremely competitative and I am not that kind of character.
I feel that the only royalties that will be achievable by the rural composer like me is through the PRS from radio and television. As they can't hide so easily what music they use and its source. Also composers who are lucky and talented enough to work for film, television and advertising. With extreme lack of funds most commissioned and performed pieces by orchestras in a concert setting have a very short shelf life, unless they capture the public imagination for better or worse.
This is why I went the website route.

I am not for a moment decrying your idea. I think it is great. Are you going to carry it forward with a publication. If so I would be happy to contribute (if you think my music would fit in) and help if possible.

I also think that no one else is going to help us so we should be helping our own progress in as many ways as possible.

Any one in Scotland Edinburgh to St Andrews way interested in playing please please get in contact as I love exploring new music and interacting with others just as much as writing.


  Re: A NEW ENSEMBLE - JOIN IT!  MartinY at 20:23 on 28 July 2009

Yes Jim - there are two main points I would want to answer....

First when I make a call for pieces for publication I intend to publish everything which is technically good in terms of presentation, though it could be handwritten, as long as it is clear. I deliberately do not want to make aesthetic judgements as they will inevitably be biased as I have some rather self-opinionated ideas. These ideas give me a decision making process when composing so to me they seem good but I am sure they may well be wrong and I am not consistent.

I am currently working on early music performing material for publication by mid-August. The layout is apparantly simple but it is taking me ages to sort out as I know all the things which make a really good practical edition. When it is done I will put it on free download for limited time so all members interested can look at it. This is from a layout point of view as the most modern composer represented is Max Reger. However the principles apply the same... clarity, no impossible turns, little danger of playing a piece with bits missing! Finding you part in less than 10 minutes. All playing the same piece.... etc. etc. You may not believe it but people have played two different pieces together without realising for 10 minutes. And it was tonal music in G-minor.