It has arrived! 届きました!



My first CD Philip Seaton – Chamber Works has arrived! It is sobering to think how long it has taken to get to this point: 15 months since the musicians first gathered to rehearse the three pieces; 15 years since the first performance of Bitter Suite at the Mill Hill Music Festival in 2003; and 25 years since the first performance of Reflections, which I played with a group of friends in Cambridge as a student. A professional studio recording of my music for commercial release is a long-time dream come true.

It was an exciting moment to hold the CD for the first time. As soon as it arrived, I put it in the CD player and started listening. Then it struck me … I do not do this with my published academic research. Whenever a new book or publication arrives, I have a quick check to see if the production looks OK and then put it on my bookshelf. This is partly because publishing research is a routine part of my job. It is also because of a little academic superstition: if I read through a new publication I will immediately find a mistake! When I opened one of my books for the first time, literally the first sentence I saw contained a typo. It said “the the”, so it was nothing serious. But, why do you always find these bloopers immediately after publication, and not just in time before publication?!

There was no need for superstition with the CD. I had checked the disc many times at the editing and mastering stages. I knew the musicians and engineers had done a fantastic job and I could listen without worrying about mistakes. Even so, mistakes in recordings bother me far less than finding an extra “the” in one of my published sentences. I have live recordings of all ten of my completed pieces, and all contain performance mistakes. I listen to those recordings regularly and the mistakes do not bother me. In fact, they become an integral part of the performance, and therefore the precious memories of an occasion when people gathered together to perform my music. I am usually far too grateful to musicians, whether amateur or professional, to get concerned about little performance bloopers here and there.

While this CD is a recording for commercial release, it has also been a deeply personal project for me. On one level, it is a recording of pieces that have long been part of my life and my “sound world”. The CD triggers memories of all the thoughts and experiences that inspired Bitter Suite, Rainy Day and Reflections. On another level, every sound on the CD triggers memories of two wonderful days in August 2017 when the musicians, engineers and I got together to do the recording. On the CD for release, there is a clean performance. But I also know the places where it all went horribly wrong on the first take and the musicians collapsed in fits of laughter before regathering their composure to get the clean take you will hear. It is just a wonderful experience working with people who can seamlessly combine great fun and great professionalism.

Alas, such memories cannot be packaged up and sold as part of the CD. But, I hope that people who listen to the CD will connect with the music and understand what I was trying to say. My feelings on receiving the CD a few weeks ago seemed to encapsulate so many things, in particular how I write pieces for enjoyment, primarily mine, but I hope yours, too. Receiving the CD also reminded me that composing and performing music are so much more than the creation of sound. They generate friendships and memories, too. I keep telling myself that if I do not enjoy listening to the CD again and again myself, I should not expect others to do so. I know I have so many more reasons to listen. But, one day – hopefully – somebody somewhere will have listened to it more times than I have. That person has a lot of catching up to do, though.

30 August 2018


私の第1作目となるCD、「Philip Seaton –Chamber Works」が届きました!ここまで来るのに、驚くほど長い時間がかかりました。演奏家による、3作品の最初のリハーサルが行われてから15ヶ月、「ビタースイート組曲」が2003年のMill Hill音楽祭において初演されてから15年、「リフレクションズ」をケンブリッジ時代に学生仲間と初演してから25年、という時間が経過しています。私の音楽作品を、本格的にスタジオでレコーディングし、これを商業的にリリースできて、長年の夢が叶いました。

初めてこのCDを手にした瞬間は、ワクワクする思いでした。到着後すぐに、CDプレイヤーに入れて聴き始めました。その時、はっと気がついたのです。研究成果が出版されても、私はこんなことはしません。新しく本や出版物が手元に届いても、見た目が大丈夫かをざっと確認して、本棚に置いてしまいます。これには、仕事上、日常的に研究を出版していることが少し関係しています。また、新しい出版物を読んだら、すぐどこかに間違いを見つけてしまう!という、研究上のちょっとした迷信のようなものも関係しています。ある一冊の著書を初めて広げたとき、文字通り、最初にみた一文の中のタイプミスが目に飛び込んできました。”the the”というタイプミスでしたから、大したものではありません。それにしても、一体どうして、こうしたミスは出版前には見つからないのに、出版後にはすぐ見つかるのでしょうね?!