The University of Birmingham’s Creative Exchange had a lockdown project – to write music for another member to play.

I had the luck to be partnered with Ben Siebertz, an admirable musician whose keyboard work mostly specialised in French Baroque music, and who was down for pretty much anything – and from that we set to work.

dissolve is a piece designed to hand agency back to performers – giving the keyboard player prompts, melodies, material and directions, and crucially the license to do what ever they want.

As the piece unfolds, it becomes more and more a part of the performer (like all of concert music really is) leading to an open-ended cadenza and an improvised end to a piece I hope people recognise as passionate.

dissolve is accompanied by a poem:

i pass my words on to you dissolve
sing them till you hum dissolve
like a gift like a burden dissolve
in your prayer i am killed but live forever dissolve
in your rituals you find me dissolve
you make me dissolve
you make new and different dissolve
mine becomes yours dissolve
but my soul lives with that honour dissolve
pass it on dissolve
and reform

Anyone wishing to perform, or even to just peruse the score – please get in touch!

Here is Ben Siebertz’ ingenious realisation, starting from 3:39. I can recommend the other pieces in the programme – there’s much earnest and passionate music here. For an unmarked cut of the same take, there is an mp3 file for your use.

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