As I write this I have just come back from a rehearsal for my latest piece, Laughter Studies 2, with Alice Purton. During the rehearsal of the piece, in which we both listen to manipulated sounds on headphones and react to them in real time, she asks “How do you want me to act? Do I stay sad or go back to neutral for those 2 seconds?” It’s a small but important detail in the piece, one which, admittedly, I hadn’t thought about, and it instantly reminds me of one of the reasons I love making music with really good performers – to have those types of interactions which provide a totally fresh perspective on your work, making you see things that you didn’t see before.
Alice is the dream performer to work with. Whether playing cello strings or other objects, singing, making declamatory statements on stage, or unrolling sellotape in a huge hall, she’s someone who cuts through all the bullshit and wants to get to the essence of the piece – what it’s doing, how it’s doing it, and why she should care. Which, in turn, makes you care when she performs. Working with her, there is always an element of collaboration, even if I’ve been a Composer with a capital C and written everything down (or, in this case, recorded everything in sound), there are ideas concerning what we’re supposed to be thinking about when we do this, whether we should look at each other here or not, and what that might mean; ideas that end up affecting the piece creatively and aesthetically. Continue reading “Better Know A Weisslich: Alice Purton”