Greg Caffrey

rarescale's Artistic Director, Carla Rees, talks to Greg Caffrey ahead of the Premiere of Nocturne on 11th May 2016
What is it that appeals to you about writing for the bass flute?
The ability to use a combination of rare timbres. To create unusual sounds (in this case) through the pairing of a very unusual instrumental combination (bass flute & bass clarinet).

What is your musical aesthetic?
Simply to create something beautiful, a term not so common in contemporary music, unfashionable even. I would even go so far as to say that I’m often searching for a romanticism in music. Now how uncool is that!

Who are your main influences?
The composer who has perhaps influenced me most is the Japanese composer, Toru Takemitsu. In his compositions colour, texture and above all space are the predominant elements in the music. There is also a wonderful flexibility of line and a focus on what many listeners would consider real beauty. I love the unhurried nature of most of what he says musically and it is these musical attributes that I have most tried to absorb and use within my own compositional voice.

Tell us about the background of Nocturne – how did it come to be written and what’s it all about?
The piece was an attempt to evoke an absolute stillness – that of the night. I felt the two bass instruments would be a great vehicle for that, their breathy sounds perhaps suggesting the wind. A lack of movement is reinforced through the constant use of ostinati. This piece was written specifically for Sarah Watts and Carla Rees.

How does this work relate to your other compositional output?
I think this piece is pretty unique in my output – an experiment. It contains some of the sense of space and colour of some of my other pieces, but is otherwise very different. I hope it works!

What are your plans for the future?
To continue my work as artistic director with Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble in Belfast. We’ve made such a difference to the contemporary music scene there in the last 3 years – it’s so enjoyable and it’s a privilege for me to work alongside such great musicians.

Greg's website
Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble

rarescale performs Nocturne for bass flute and bass clarinet at The Forge in Camden on 11 May 2016