"We'll get the body in the coffin in the ground ON TIME!"
The music was lots of fun to write. I enjoy the challenge of writing music to constraints. With soundtracks each note has to be necessary, focused and precise in what it conveys. No change there, then. But capturing the essence of a place, a mood, a person, for me requires a lot of thought and experimentation. The process reminds me not to hold onto material unnecessarily. Luckily, I've not been precious about material for a long time. What's more, I had helpful support from John, who I had worked with before on award-winning radio drama The New World Order.
John, co-producer Andy Goddard and I discussed at length the peculiarities of Piffling village, nuances of the characters, and the story arc of the series. We agreed that music would be sparse throughout to maintain a naturalistic feel and augment the absurdity of the comedy. I just needed to get the theme right first.
I sent John and Andy six ideas for the main theme, all involving an organ for that funereal feel. Once that was there, I made a number of variations: short cues that could be dotted around the series. I then wrote extended diege
shamble 1 for cellist: James Whittle
shamble 2 for flautist: Rowena Jacobs
Scratch performance, 9th November 2013, Leeds
Here are some choice snaps from that performance (thanks to Champion Up North).
More shambles will follow...
Champion Up North have published an online review of Gracefool Collective's fundraiser, 'A Cause for Celebration'. Izzy Brittain writes,
I even saw something, the nature of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, Shambles by James Whittle and Rowena Jacobs. Music-theatre. What the hell is that? I didn’t know either, but I’ve always loved watching the body language of musicians – and in this case, the body language became the
“I don’t want my future children to live in a world with no
trees but with the printed-out internet.”
My thanks to Kent Sheely for kindly allowing the use of his tweet as the title, and to Kenneth Goldsmith for giving permission to use material posted on the Printing Out the Internet website for my own submissions.