Composer’s Notes – June 2017

Cornwall composer

June is the time when summer properly starts here in Cornwall, with many holiday makers making their way down to the coast in order to recharge their burnt out batteries. As a family who originated from Birmingham, we were like that too – desperately saving up our funds to afford a few days away when we could manage it, until we finally made the brave decision to uproot ourselves and make Cornwall our home.

Once we had settled ourselves in our new life in Penzance, life took on a very different feel. Although we are thankfully very busy with work, there is more opportunity to take time to immerse oneself in the peace and stillness of the natural land and seascape.

A new place to visit and gain inspiration this month was the Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens which is quite near to where we live. This is an amazing place which is a fusion of lush, exotic gardens harmonising with large pieces of art work. As well as impressive sculptures dotted about, an unusual feature was a skylight which gave a dazzling view of the ever changing sky. Did I also mention that the tea room here was outstanding?!

Another passion of mine (apart from tearooms and music!) is the ‘patchwork quilt’ colours of fields. I adore the vivid and contrasting shades of violent yellow set against earthy, reddish brown, alongside a vivid green. The variety of different sizes of geometric shapes are also fascinating – like torn up strips of colour glued together by strands of hedgerows.

As we move from this month and into the next, it is an opportunity to take time out, with manuscript paper and pencil, and create some musical motifs inspired by birdsong, the hush of the fragrant breeze, and the hum of the bees…

Sue Aston

Composer’s Notes – May 2017

Cornwall Composer May 2017

The merry month of May, and a time of year when life seems to accelerate! This is always the time of year when it can feel as though I am spinning many musical plates!

Much of the planning which took place in the previous year seems to all at once bear fruit. Musical performances and recording sessions are in full flow, and it requires a clear head to ensure that everything ticks along smoothly and that preparations are adequately put in place.

Moreover, I find myself greatly inspired by the gentle warmth in the air, and the way the sunlight streams through the window when I play the piano first thing in the morning. Like nurturing a new plant, musical ideas take seed in my mind and I find the urge to get stuck into creating new compositions. All my activities need to have enough time apportioned to them and it is necessary not to let distractions in!

A new composition that I started for my patron, Edna, really starts to come alive – maybe I should add this new piece of music to my EP too?! This is also a perfect time of year for filming – I have ideas for new music shows and videos too! Sometimes, I can feel my mind pulsing and racing in equal measures. Mindfulness is a tool which helps me to take a step back from this hive of creative chaos – calm, cool headed planning and copious notes are the way forward!

Swimming is a great way to focus the mind, and divert the raised energy in the body in a positive way, as is a walk around my local National Trust garden, ‘Trengwainton’.

There is so much beauty in Cornwall, that my mind runs riot. An abundance of inspiration – not only in the landscape, but also in the tea rooms!

Composers notes May 2017

Sue Aston

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January Song Music Video

My final video from my ‘Winter Keys’ EP!

I wanted this music to really celebrate the precious time we spend with family and friends. Quite often, we are so caught up in our busy lives, that we forget how special these times are – until the years fly by and you stop and remember them much later on.

My two sons – Dan and Lee – both play beautiful solos on this track, and I wanted them to feature on this video, with their mischievous smiles.

I hope you enjoy it, and thank you all for supporting me and enabling me to create music and videos for you

Sue X

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Composer’s Notes – April 2017

Composers Notes April

Spring is a season of hope – a looking to the future, with the anticipation of exciting new ventures to come. Despite the resolutions of New Year having long since been forgotten about, the year is still young enough to make something of – time enough to put plans into place!

Easter is a joyful time. Another substantial holiday to enjoy, and an opportunity to catch up with family near and far, and create new memories to cherish. all four of us Astons travelled to Solihull in the Midlands to visit our relatives, and I felt the familiar pang when it was time to leave and head back to Cornwall. Upon our return, the sharp, salty tang of the sea air served as an anaesthetic to soothe all pain away, and the sight of the icing sugar pale blue sea, calm and flat, seeped into my thoughts, and I was glad to be back home again.

The blossoms are in full flow – the dainty white flowers of the May blossom dramatically ignite life into the dead twigs, and, like a shower of stars, remind me of the promise of life after death. All that is dormant is coming alive. Delicate pink flowers of the apple tree are breathtaking with their shock of candy floss blossom.

Sudden icy showers are a surprise, but soon give way to the gentle rays of the sun dappling the winding country lanes. Near the coast, clusters of sea pinks decorate the craggy rocks – little tufts of magic surviving with little it seems to hold on to or to nourish them. Gorgeous gardens proudly reveal the vibrant beauty of rhododendrons and magnolias. The camellia also continue to bloom with incredible longevity.

And so I turn my thoughts to my creativity. A special moment this month was completing the final video for the tracks on my ‘Winter Keys’ EP. I was delighted to be able to capture my two sons – Dan and Lee – who played guitar on my ‘January Song’ track. A precious moment indeed.

Sue Aston

Sue Aston Composer

Composer’s Notes – March 2017

Composer Notes March

There is a fresh, fragrant feel in the air this month. A light fizzing sensation deep in your heart – the season is changing and spring is truly on its way.

Pretty primroses decorate the dullest of hedgerows, their yellow or mauve faces nodding gently in agreement that warmer days are at last on the way. Not that winter has entirely lost its icy grip – harsh, unexpected winds rattles the latches and take one’s breath away when least expected. Sudden wintry showers release a torrent of hail which collects in fairy like mounds at one’s feet, before quickly melting away just as quickly as it appeared.

The luxurious sight of magnolia trees illuminate the skyline. Such perfect beauty to behold against a gunmetal grey blue sky. A beacon of hope to soothe any heart still full of winter’s depression. Churchyards produce their own pre- Easter scene – the last of the ragged daffodils, still a pleasure to look upon, join forces with the perfumed hyacinth to adorn the edges of graves and stone monuments.

A special delight are the scattered groups of goldfinch in our garden, who flit and bob about amongst the flowers and wintry weeds. Safe in the knowledge that finally, one of the local cats has moved on, leaving them free to enjoy a feast of breadcrumbs and small insects.

As we move into spring, it is time to pursue new, creative musical ideas. A time to breathe deeply and be inspired by nature’s gifts of inspiration.

Sue Aston

sue aston composers notes