17 Nov 2017

PHILIP NORMAN: Changing Lanes (introduction)

From Resound, 9:04 pm on 17 November 2017

Introduced by Kenneth Young.

Kenneth Young

Kenneth Young Photo: Deborah Rawson

Changing Lanes is an odd title which had its origins in the terror the composer experienced while teaching his son to drive in rush hour traffic and realising a change of lanes was necessary. As Philip Norman himself describes it, “Panic is furtive glances behind, ears alert for squealing brakes, body braced for the crunch of metal on metal, urge to scream suppressed for fear of spooking your young charge.  Relief is the realisation you’ve crossed the line, car unrumpled, bodies unscathed. Exhilaration is moving once again with clear space ahead.”

Norman would freely admit that this all has nothing at all to do with the music he wrote. However it does provide an analogy for what he really had in mind; the thought that change is one of life’s most difficult manoeuvres and yet often it’s the anticipation that brings the greatest challenge.

There are definite jazz influences in this piece. Norman had been struggling with indecision on which lane to drive down stylistically. In the end he answered himself with a question. Why keep to one style? Why not make a feature of transition? It worked out nicely really, as Diedre [Irons] had mentioned that she’d enjoy an element of jazz in the composition.

Listen to Changing Lanes by Philip Norman.

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