The Whirlies – finished

The performance of ‘The Whirlies’ is coming up very soon;

The Whirlies
by J. Simon van der Walt
A new piece for strings and electro-junk improviser, inspired by the roundabouts of East Kilbride

Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra
Cond Peter Cynfryn Jones
Solist Edward ‘Teddy’ Edwards

Òran Mór (Byre’s Road, Glasgow) Monday 17 Nov 2008
Doors open at 1715, Concert begins at 1815
£10 includes cocktail and canapés
0141 357 6200

Also featuring
Vaughan Williams A Lark Ascending
Debussy Danses Sacré et Profane
Respighi Il Tramonto

Here’s a wee snippet of the piece, midi strings, but the impro material is for real:


Composer’s note

“What is East Kilbride famous for? I’m not entirely sure how most people would answer that question! For myself, although I’m not exactly Scottish born and bred, there is a big chunk of me which is ‘from’ East Kilbride; I spent two highly formative periods of my life there, during my primary school years, and again for the last couple of years of high school before university. And one of the things which always sticks in my head about East Kilbride is… roundabouts! Being one of those 60’s new towns, it has an elaborate road plan, with sweeping dual carriageways carefully separated from winding dead-end closes; the kind of town where you can see the house you’re trying to get to, but there seems to be no way of actually getting there…

The biggest roundabout in East Kilbride is known to most residents by name; ‘The Whirlies’. In recent times it’s been rather travestied by the addition of traffic lights, but in it’s heyday it was a madness of a junction, roads spiralling off in every direction…

Of course, a piece of music can’t really be about a roundabout. More than that, this is a reminiscence of my teenage years, when I first started to become seriously interested in music. There were two strands to this. Firstly, I was starting to branch out from my Father’s transcendental but admittedly rather limited listening diet of Bach, Wagner, and, er nothing else, to explore the delights of jazz, experimental rock music, Stravinsky, and Bartók. My second way into music was through the soldering iron, literally getting my fingers burnt hacking together home-made noisemakers using transistors salvaged from broken hi-fi sets and the like.

The piece also forms a trailer of sorts for a forthcoming project provisionally entitled ‘The Ted Edwards Electr-O-Matic Orchestra’, or something like that.

Here’s the setup I’m using for the electro-junk impro;

That’s my grandfather’s old banjo-ukulele through a pickup to a genuine original Realistic Electronic Reverb (with added feedback loop), through a mixer to keep the levels under control. No live computer processing! (but a tiny amount of reverb added in the demo to make it ‘sit’ with the dodgy washy midi strings.)

I hope you like my new direction :|

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