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James Nye – Composition Work

22nd November, 2011

A few days ago I wrote another piano miniature in a minimalist vein. It was meant to be something simple for a child friend to play, but it turned out slightly too metrically complex. Anyway, I think it sounds quite nice and it’s had some very positive feedback already. I’ve performed it live on my little Eavestaff piano (which needs tuning):

21st October, 2011

The other day I wrote a tiny piano piece whilst waiting in pleasant anticipation for my partner to arrive. I recorded a version using harp sounds in Sibelius software. I hope you enjoy it. Here it is:

12 September, 2011

I enjoyed making the ensemble versions of Satie’s 7e Nocturne and my collaboration with him on the Nocturne – Chant du lapin á la lune and thought they worked pretty well. So I set to work to arrange ensemble versions of all of Satie’s published piano nocturnes, including the posthumous 6e Nocturne (edited by Robert Orledge for publication in 1999). Here they are:

24 August, 2011

Thought I’d create a new page to write about my current composition projects.

I’ve been working on nocturnal music for a while now – some of it as work towards a new version of David Gascoyne’s radiophonic poem Night Thoughts. In parallel, I’ve been writing solo piano nocturnes, which I then orchestrate for a small ensemble. I’ve ‘recorded’ some of these using Sibelius notation software, and Garritan virtual instruments.

Some of the nocturnes are posthumous collaborations with Erik Satie, who left several (mostly very brief) sketches for nocturnes in 1919. This one uses a 12 bar idea constructed of cells. I wrote a middle section, and an ornamented repeat of the first 12 bars to end the piece. Here is the ensemble version of Nocturne Seven:

And if you’d like to compare, here is the solo piano version of Erik Satie/James Nye’s version of Nocturne Seven:

Incidentally, you can buy the piano score of Satie’s seventh Nocturne (in versions by Robert Orledge, Jamie Crofts and myself) from . The official premiere recordings are available on the album Erik Satie: Autour des Nocturnes which is available to buy here: Erik Satie CD . The CD also contains several other ‘new’ Satie Nocturnes, plus recordings of all five nocturnes published during his lifetime, and the Sixth (edited by Professor Robert Orledge in 1919), and other Satie rareities.

I’ve also written a few piano nocturnes in various hues (partly inspired by Whistler’s nocturnes). Here is the first one, Nocturne in White, which uses entirely ‘white notes’ on the piano:

You can compare here with the ensemble version:

The second ‘colour’ nocturne is a Nocturne in Black and Gold. It uses only ‘black notes’ on the piano (and has an inevitably oriental, Indonesian gamelan feel) except for three uses of a C natural. As I’m not proficient enough as a piano player to perform it, I recorded it using Sibelius with Garritan’s virtual Steinway:

The third ‘colour nocturne’ is Cerulean Blue – a title suggested by the ‘blue’ feel it has for me. Here’s a live performance of the original solo piano version:

I haven’t orchestrated it yet, but I have orchestrated another of my ‘collaborations’ with Satie. This one uses a two-bar sketch by Satie as its starting point. Here is the ensemble version of  Nocturne: Chant du lapin á la lune:

And here is me attempting to play it on the piano:

That’s all for tonight.


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