Composer’s Notes – December 2017

Composers Journal December 2017

As the final month of the year draws to a close, and the cosiness and chaos of Christmas is now behind us, it seems a good time to reflect and take stock of what this year has brought.

It has been a busy year, filled with music performances and exciting opportunities. My string quartet did some filming for Sky TV and my duo was involved in the making of a programme for channel 4. We have performed at music festivals, corporate events and weddings. It is always a joy to play for people and to bring happiness to an event.

For my composing work, I have realised that a new album is needed! Thanks to the support and generosity of my patrons, I have been able to create a whole new album worth of new music! I had planned to release a new downloadable EP, but I think what people really want is a full length, physical CD to hold and to enjoy playing. It will include the tracks off my ‘Winter Keys’ EP as well as the tracks that were to be on my new EP, as well as all the music that I created on location for my ‘Diary of a Coastal Composer’ shows.

The support and belief that you, my patrons have given me is immeasurable. I am deeply grateful to each and every one of you. When times have seemed bleak, knowing that you are there, willing me to keep going with creating music has been an absolute lifeline, and a light in the darkness. Thank you. Here’s to a productive new year

Sue X

Sue Aston Journal Dec 2017

Composer’ Notes – November 2017

composers notes november

I love the month of November. Although many may find it to be a dark and dismal month, I revel in the icy sharpness of the air. To me, the expansive sky is at it’s most beautiful – a glorious palette of hues, varying in intensity from the delicate reds and golds at sunrise to the rich purples and petrol blue haze which signals the end of the day. Flocks of birds gather at dusk and cast a dark cloak of activity in the air.

Cornwall is at rest – solitary walkers immerse themselves in the peace of the coastal path, and dog walkers enjoy the vast space of the beach. November is a time to brave the elements and bask in the rich bounty of nature. It is a raw, naked perfection. The trees are a mixture of bare skeletons or a shimmer of rich golden leafed glory.

My music lends itself naturally to piano compositions at this time – ‘November Skies’, and ‘Mizzling Marsh’ are two atmospheric solo piano pieces inspired by this time of year. Birds, trees and skies are my most favourite aspects of nature – it is a time of uncluttered beauty.

Sue Aston

Sue Aston Composer Diary

Composer’s Notes – October 2017

composers notes october
The essence of winter is in the air – the comforting smell of smoke tickles one’s nostrils when going on a country walk, as cosy fires in hearths are being lit.

The abundance of colourful pumpkins and squash are readily available as farmers proudly sell their exotic looking harvest. Warming soups and casseroles replace salads to revive and nourish us at the end of a busy day! Nature displays her glory in shades of burnished gold and ruby red. Hedgerows are alive and bursting with a bounty of berries to feed the wildlife. The metallic gleam of the sun reflecting on the sea and sand stirs the spirit, and the starlings begin to gather, which warms the heart with feelings of anticipation and hope.

It has been another busy month – my new EP is now in the stages of being mixed and will then be sent to London to be mastered. Next, I must choose a title and decide upon the artwork. It all seems to take a frustratingly long time! This month has led to another exciting filming opportunity, this time with my Duo, where we were asked to provide the music for a celebration at a manor house, which was the subject of a documentary for Channel 4! The opportunities which occur are so incredible, particularly as I live in a remote part of the country – but Cornwall is such a vibrant place, full of interesting and unusual events taking place.

As the nights draw in, there is much to look forward to – wooly socks and damson gin are the way forward to keep out the chill of the season!

Sue Aston

Sue Aston Composers Notes

Composer’s Notes – September 2017

Composers Notes Cornwall Sept 2017
Autumn is in full flow, and gorgeous golden leaves decorate footpaths, creating extra crunch and pleasure when embarking upon a country walk! Some days we experience an Indian summer, and on the south coast of Cornwall, the sea has the deep shade of azure blue, giving a Mediterranean feel to our often blustery Cornish coast.

It is a joy to visit the exotic gardens, which we are lucky to have here in Cornwall, during this season. Many are owned by the National Trust, and it is equally exciting to visit some of the country houses and their estates. Lanhydrock is one such place, and as well as an impressive stately home, there is a pretty church, and many lovely woodland walks. It is a delight to see colours still in the garden – from the deep pinks and purples of cyclamen, which gather at the base of trees, to anemones and ruby berries which are now coming to the fore.

My String Quartet was asked to provide the music for a wedding scene in a TV series recently! To say that we were excited, would be an understatement! We are currently sworn to secrecy – but all will be revealed soon as to which TV programme it is. It was such a treat for us to have our hair and make up done professionally, and to watch some famous actresses film some scenes. Absolutely thrilling!

I adore the work of the writer, Daphne du Maurier, and a recent trip to Menabilly, where she lived and where she wrote some of her novels was very inspiring. It was the inspiration for Manderley – the house in ‘Rebecca’. Menabilly is such an unspoilt location, the views across St Austell bay are stunning, and it’s so peaceful to scramble across the rocks and look out to sea. It was a special place for Phil, as it was a favourite place to visit when he went on holiday as a young boy, with his mum, dad and sister. We filmed a video when we visited, and added my ‘Remembrance’ piano piece to create the soundtrack.

I adore this season – with the misty mornings and cosy evenings – a perfect time to sit at the piano and create music. And on that note – my new EP will soon be finished – watch this space!
Sue Aston Composer Cornwall Sept 2017

Sue Aston

Composer’s Notes – August 2017

Cornwall Composer sue Aston August diary

The heady days of summer continue, but the extremes of the Cornish weather are something I find dramatic and thrilling!

The weather can be more variable near the coast, some days I have awoken to what appears to be a dark, November day. Thick fog had wrapped itself around the landscape – cars crawled along with their headlights on, and winter boots made a premature return! The following day, the sun had burned off the mist, and the sun was beating down on the crowds of grateful holiday makers! Never a dull moment, and I find these changes so inspiring!

It has been a month of many varied music performances, ranging from performing with Dan on his wonderful songs on stage at the Goldsithney Charter Fair. The heavens opened mid performance, but we battled on, as the faithful audience took shelter under their raincoats!

The next performance was a ‘Last Night of the Proms’ themed concert, with Classical strings, where we performed to over 80 people in the grounds of an artisan bakery as they enjoyed a candlelit three course dinner. The singing and waving of union flags at the end was very rousing!

As we are luck enough to live in a holiday destination, it’s important to make the most of this and schedule in some time off to enjoy a walk by the sea. The colourful boats and general bustle of working harbours is a wonderful thing to witness, and taking time out to observe the goings on at Newlyn harbour (where I composed ‘Sketches of Newlyn’) and Mevagissey, is both enjoyable and restful.

Shades of autumn are coming in to play, and I love the gorgeous sunsets which appear gradually earlier each night – a promise of the next season to come. Blackberries adorn the hedgerows, and the striking pinks and purples of heather amass the wild moorland. One of life’s greatest joys, for me, is the transition from one season to the next. In nature, there is always so much to look forward to!