Verses I-IV (2001-5)
trumpet and drumset with video/electroni

Verses was written for duo Contour and, specifically, as first repertoire for a prototype 19- and 24-division trumpet designed by David Cowie at the Centre for New Musical Instruments (CNMI), a research centre at London Guildhall University. There are two Verses so far, although it is hoped that they will eventually become an extended cycle of up to eight pieces; both use the trumpetıs 19-division set-up. In terms of their form, they very loosely apply the word verse as it is used in poetry, in which a defined number of lines are combined following metrical rules (the rules of prosody). However, music is a more abstract art than poetry and, therefore, it is possible to take greater liberties. If two verses of a poem were spoken together, the listener would soon lose the meaning of the individual lines but in music, when two lines are sounded together, a tension is created which is vibrant and reactive. This is the idea behind Verses that verse forms can be applied in linear as well as block-vertical ways in music to make an engaging, abstract narrative. In Verse 1, the two lines pull against each other; although they are very independent they do come together, as if bound by strong yet invisible threads. Here, the verse is implied in repetition within the structure; the equivalent of word-change within a fixed, repeating meter is motive change within a recognisable (yet fluid) musical gesture. In Verse 2, the percussion part repeats exactly, four times, although the trumpet part avoids repetition; the percussion clarifies the metrical structure while the trumpet imitates word-change by subtle variation and alterations of mood and emphasis.
Donald Boustedıs microtonal music has evolved predominantly from collaborative projects with performers.  Most is quarter-tonal, although there are pieces in 48-; 36-; 19- and 18-divisions.  A majority of these pieces are for solo recorder or recorder duet and were written over a ten year period of working with recorder players Kathryn Bennetts and Peter Bowman.  During this time The Quarter-Tone Recorder Manual , co-authored with Bennetts and Bowman, was researched and published (Moeck Verlag, 1998) and the 26 minute quarter-tone recorder duet OEA Journey Among Travellersı was released on CD following an Arts Council England award.  There is also a quarter-tone euphonium piece; a suite of quarter-tone pieces for alto saxophone; a percussion concerto (which uses quarter-tones in the wind instruments only) and a quarter-tone trumpet concerto.  As well as these instrumental pieces there is a growing output of electro-acoustic work which utilises a range of equal and just tunings.  The great majority of these pieces are structured microtonal works in the sense that the microtonal pitches are incorporated within the fabric of the pitch structure.    

Recording (clicking on link opens a new window): HIGH, LOW