Jenny Jackson

I am a composer (yikes)

Do I work better under pressure?

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Do I work better under pressure? Other people seem to think so and, although I often fall back on that as a comfort when I’m struggling to produce anything, I still wonder what my output would be if I didn’t have to get completely frazzled and stressed before ‘it’ happens. I’ve never really managed to work on more than one piece at once and, as recent weeks have proved, I still can’t. If anything, I stopped being able to work on anything at all until push came to shove and then I popped out something a little unexpected (but, possibly, more interesting than I thought I was going to) which exploited my current preoccupations; the inherent theatricality of musical performance, and the audience’s expectations and perceptions of what they see and hear. In this respect, I am quite pleased with ‘Sanctum’ (it’s interesting to compare the two performances – see, but I do feel like I’m having to review and critique my output in retrospect. It’s not really the Mozart way of composing, is it?

So, I feel pleased that I managed to squeeze out a new piece for pianist Philip Thomas to perform in the recent Platform 4 concerts, and happy I found something relevant to my practice to boot. In contrast, Desire Lines for piano, six hands (2011), received it’s third and fourth performances so I feel I know these pieces well. It was more like listening to music composed by someone else in this respect. I was pleased with the performances but can’t believe I wrote the pieces! You can watch Nos 2 and 4 here:



You can hear all four Desire Lines here:

So now I have to get back into Moot, my orchestra and piano, six hands, piece. I have five or six versions on the go, and several sketches. Somehow I’ve got to manhandle this beast and get back into the world of it. I’ve got till the end of December to complete it and deliver the score and parts. Hopefully, I can finish it calmly and effortlessly. I doubt it though… First performance on 28th June 2014! Panic!!!


Author: jennyjacksoncomposer

Jenny Jackson is a composer of acoustic instrumental and vocal work. She is strongly influenced by a long-term interest in the visual and dramatic arts and often chooses to exploit the visual aspect of musical performance in her concert pieces. She has developed this to create two fully staged pieces of music theatre and has collaborated to produce multidisciplinary projects with visual artists, sculptors, writers and choreographers. She is a member of Platform 4 composers - a composer collective based in Sheffield.

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