for solo guitar
Drawing on Water
"Drawing on Water" struck me as an apt metaphor for
music played on a plucked string instrument like the guitar – the
way that images begin to decay as soon as they are formed, and only the
persistence on those images in the memory enables us to perceive the larger
The work is in three movements, exploiting different aspects of the guitar’s
Brent Jolley was born 29 February,
1948 near Wigan, Lancashire. After a predominantly technical education
he taught himself to read music at the age of sixteen. He learned to play
the clarinet but later switched to flute. He started composing in 1966
mainly influenced by Bartók and later Messiaen. He attended the
spnm composers’ weekend in 1969 where his piece Monody
-The Old Forest was rehearsed by the Nash Ensemble directed by
Justin Conolly. His music attracted the attention of Anthony Gilbert and
David Lumsdaine who subsequently gave him much useful advice and encouragement.
He attended the 1970 spnm composers’ weekend where The
Tarn III was rehearsed and performed. This piece was subsequently
played in the December spnm concert at the Purcell Room by the
London Contemporary Music Players conducted by Elgar Howarth.
After 1970 he began experimenting with some large scale works which never
came to fruition. This resulted in a long hiatus in his musical output,
although compositional activity never ceased entirely. Throughout this
period he maintained a lively interest in contemporary music.
He entered Liverpool University as a mature student in 1977 to study Geology
and later Geophysics. In 1981 he started work as a geophysicist in oil
exploration, latterly specializing in acoustic imaging.
Since the late 1980s he has been involved in writing, playing and singing
music for the Catholic liturgy, mainly at his local parish church. This
has provided much useful experience in working with amateur musicians
of widely varying ability. He resumed composing in earnest in 1993 since
when he has completed several short-to-medium length works for various
instrumental combinations, none of which have yet received a public performance.
In 1999 he took early retirement so as to concentrate on composing. A
work for unaccompanied chamber choir, Three Landscapes,
was performed by the Octavian Singers (for whom they were written) in
the summer of 2000.
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