At Land (2003)

for flugelhorn, fretless electric bass, piano, tape and video

Dedicated to Trevor Steele Taylor

Commissioned by National Arts Festival for "Mirroring Maya Deren" project

Live score for the 1944 silent film by Maya Deren

Parts on hire

Publisher: Bardic Edition

Score in preparation

Duration: 15 minutes


First performance: Wednesday 2 July 2003; New Music Indaba 2003, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa; Marcus Wyatt flugelhorn, Carlo Mombelli electric bass, Michael Blake piano, Helen Hacksley cello.

Programme note

One of the details that caught my eye when I first watched Maya Deren’s At Land was the cameo appearance by (a very young) John Cage, who seemed to change from someone and back into someone else a short way into the film. The cutting from Deren to this character and back somehow cunningly masks the change of actor. In this spirit I appropriated some very spare material from a piano piece I wrote in 2002 and set about continually changing it into other versions of itself, trying not to make the changes too obvious.

The music was commissioned by the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa for the Mirroring Maya Deren project presented as part of the film programme. The first performance was given on 2 July 2003 in Nombulelo Hall, Grahamstown and the music was played live by Marcus Wyatt (flugelhorn), Carlo Mombelli (fretless bass), Michael Blake (piano) and others. Mirroring Maya Deren, with scores by Jurgen Brauninger and Carlo Mombelli for two of Deren’s other silent films, was devised by Trevor Steele Taylor, to whom my score is dedicated.


Dramatic works