Brent Jolley

Drawing on Water

for solo guitar

duration: 7'30"

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 picture.

The work is in three movements, exploiting different aspects of the guitar’s character.

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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