Diary of A Coastal Composer

Easing Into The Equinox

October 4, 2016

The Autumn Equinox is a time for calm and reflection. Solace can be sought from the excesses between the busy seasons – the hot, sticky summer madness and the hype and panic of Christmas yet to come.

There is a feeling of coming into balance as the hours of daylight and night-time become equal. The golden light falls softly upon the earth, and there is a hush and stillness in the air. The tall crops of corn which loom up oppressively in the farmer’s field behind our house have their days numbered. Soon they will be cut down and the field will return to its neutral, stubbly state. A time of rest for nature too.

The Autumn season is a productive time for me as a composer. A gentleness pervades the air, and nature gently coaxes the music out of my mind and through my fingers. It is a contemplative time, and this suits a creative mind. Many deadlines have passed, and there is much needed space to think and for ideas to grow.

A time to take stock of what has been, and a time to plan future ventures.

Diary of A Coastal Composer, Music

Sue Aston Remembrance Music Video

August 22, 2016

This music video was filmed near to my home, where there is a lovely coastal village called Perranuthnoe in Cornwall. The video is quite ethereal, and captures the idea of thinking about our loved ones who are no longer with us, as well as reminiscing about the past. The track features my husband Phil Aston on electric guitar, and I play piano, keyboards and violin.

I really hope you like it – it’s a favourite place of ours where we often go for a stroll in the evening! There will be more new music videos in production of the other tracks off the ‘Winter Keys’ EP too.

Music composed by Sue Aston

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Diary of A Coastal Composer

A Wet Walk!

August 21, 2016

In an attempt to stave off my extra cake and roast dinner weight, I decided to embark upon a brisk walk up the hill to St Hilary, a favourite walk of mine. There was one snag however – the terrible weather.

There’s one thing you can rely upon in August, and that’s a walk in the pouring rain. All trussed up in a mac and boots, all that was missing was an essential piece of summer clothing – some waterproof trousers. I was determined to make the best of it, as I must get fit. And so I decided to walk an imaginary child to school – after all, in those days, when the children were young, I was a mere 7 stone nothing!

Whenever I set out to do some form of exercise, I always play music – not on an iPod – but in my head. This inner music keeps monotony at bay, and the way the weather was turning out, that seemed quite apt! My choice of internal singing was ‘Born To Run’, by Bruce Springsteen. I’ve recently arranged this song for my Quartet to play, and I contemplated the minor 7th interval in the second bar as I splashed childishly in some muddy puddles. ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’, I mused, as I paused to unbutton the top of my coat to let some steam out – it was getting like a greenhouse in there! The cuffs on my wrist were now getting very damp, and this seemed to cause me to stiffen up and march like a soldier in my trench coat and big boots. A large drip of rainwater splashed on my nose, and I was immediately transported to the song from the ‘Sound of Music’. No roses or kittens in sight however, but oodles of burnt orange montbretia and white oversized daises spilling and protruding from every crevice.

I came upon a local artist who was emerging from her house, and who was waterproofed up to her eyeballs. “You can tell it’s August,” she remarked. “Nice weather for ducks”, I replied. A well meaning driver slowed, probably to offer me a lift, as the rain was now hysterically coming down, I averted my gaze however – I was doing this for fun! The hem of my dress was now saturated and was stuck to my kneecaps like a sodden handkerchief. I was wetter than a wet wipe at the bottom of the ocean – that wet! I was beginning to feel a bit exhausted, and contemplated whether it was safer to walk in the rain, than on a sunny day. Do serial killers ever murder anyone in the rain?

At last some familiar cottages came into view – I was nearly home. Five minutes later and I was back indoors, and drying through with a hot, steaming cup of tea. Who needs the gym when you have the rugged landscape to keep you fit? (Albeit – a wet one!).

Art & Poetry, Diary of A Coastal Composer

The Rhythm of the Day

July 17, 2016

I am at my most creative first thing. As soon as daylight seeps through the curtains, I start to feel the need to get going.

This simple act requires preparation however – An early night without wine is very necessary in order to have the energy and wherewithal not to roll over and sleep a bit longer! It is worth it though, the peace and solitude of an early rise is a gift which lasts the whole day.

After shaking off all feelings of slumber, I run happily down the stairs and I’m rewarded by the excited disposition of our cats, who greet me exuberantly. I open the patio doors to let them out and the fresh new air in.

The chorus of birdsong is refreshing, and it is a treat. One of nature’s precious gifts to those who meet the deadline of an early start. There is not another human soul around, and I revel in the fact that it is just me and nature.

Nature’s music is all around – the early morning hum of bees and the gentle sound of a soft breeze as it rustles the leaves in the trees. These sounds filter into my mind just in time for my practise regime. I’ve never been one to do hours of practise. I find that good quality, focused practise for one hour or less suits me well. I have to feel inspired to play, and absorbing the sounds and other delights which are present in nature fuel my ability and will to create music.

I like to complete most of my work before lunch, I find that the afternoon is best spent planning the rest of the week, or doing ordinary tasks that don’t require much effort.

An evening stroll to take in the sea air is a wonderful way to wind down and prepare for sleep, so that I am rested and rejuvenated for another early start to the next creative day ahead.

Diary of A Coastal Composer

My Interview on the BBC Heaven and Earth Show

June 8, 2016

This was filmed in 2005 I think!   I was interviewed by the well known travel journalist, Simon Calder. They were featuring ‘Saints and Sinners’ of Cornwall. My part came under the latter!

I was filmed at Roche Rock where there is the legend of Jan Tregeagle, a real nasty baddie if ever there was one! He sought sanctuary in the hermitage at Roche Rock, and this story led to me composing the track ‘Legend of Roche Rock’ off my album ‘Sacred Landscapes’.
The day of the filming was memorable in terms of the weather – it was overcast and cold – very fitting for this story!

The director wanted me to sit on top of a rock and play – it was a bit too windy for that, and the wind was blowing my bow all over the place! They very kindly placed a blanket on the rock for me to sit on – as there was a puddle of rain water where I was sitting!
Simon Calder was very kind, and kept offering me his jacket to wear in between shots!

Sue Aston