Commissioned by the Symphonic Wind Orchestra of North London and first performed at St. Martin’s Church (NW London) on the 6th April 2019 by the orchestra and conducted by Matthew Hardy.
Picc.,2,2,Eb cl.,3,b.cl.,2,c.bsn,2 a.sax,t.sax,b.sax. | 4,2,2 cnt.,3, Euph.,1. | D.B. | timp, kit, 2 perc.
Vortex is my first major work for wind orchestra. I embarked on this commission with great enthusiasm as my own musical journey began in the humble Lewisham Schools’ Concert Band. Initially sitting uncomfortably amongst the sea of flutes, I broke away to become the lone bassoonist desperately trying to be heard above the booming tubas. It was for the same band that I wrote my first large ensemble composition. As an ambitious but untrained 13-year old conductor, I attempted to bring the challenging piece to life with somewhat dubious success… Despite this, it was an informative experience that set me on the path to become a composer and conductor, which is why I will always feel an affinity for the Wind Orchestra.
Vortex is named in part after London’s jazz bar of the same name, where I have attended a great many wonderfully unhinged jazz gigs. This work also bears this title due to the usage of a structural form that I have been exploring in a number of recent works, which I have called the ‘vortex structure.’ The form begins with the presentation of a musical phrase followed by an extended variation of the first. The third phrase is then an extended variation of the second, and so it continues; thus spiralling out as each cyclic variation becomes larger and increasingly more flamboyant.
I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Symphonic Wind Orchestra of North London and their Music Director, and good friend, Matthew Hardy for the opportunity to write this work.