We’re proud to have a section you won’t find in other orchestras – we have our very own teenage composers. They play a vital role in NYO activity, writing new music which is performed by NYO musicians, and we’re thrilled to share their work in this series of short films. Each of our seven brilliant composers has invented a ‘deleted scene’ from Romeo and Juliet, bringing them to life through original music they have written themselves. The pieces were written in just ten days, and recorded in a 20-minute session each.
For this piece I drew inspiration from Romeo and Juliet considering the difference between Juliet’s perspective of the party towards the start of the play, and imagining her looking back on this towards the end. In response, inside (OUTSIDE) is about perspective. It’s a textural piece in three sections, and in each section certain aspects of the texture are explored; sometimes they’re expanded and reverberated around the orchestra, as if the texture is a huge building you’re standing inside of, and other times they are shrunken down and condensed, as if contained in a tiny object that you’re looking at from afar. It’s about looking at something from different angles, and what it feels like to be ‘inside’ a sound.
Dream is a piece inspired by the idea of a deleted scene from the play Romeo and Juliet. The scene is one of wonder – whether dreams are true. Romeo certainly believes they are, however Mercutio disagrees and so within the piece lies a feeling of conflict or disagreement. The piece is also inspired by a specific speech Mercutio gives about Queen Mab, 'the fairies’ midwife'. A deceptive and yet very powerful creature, who has the ability to make people dream what they desire the most – something that Romeo holds very dear to him.
This atmospheric piece is about Juliet as she lies in the tomb in a death-like sleep. I wanted to experiment with surreal and dream-like sounds and really push myself musically to create a dramatic piece that plays with extremes in terms of dynamic, pitch, and most of all, timbre.
Hearing my piece come to life in the workshop was the most incredible and exciting experience and something I am so grateful to the NYO for. It has been such a privilege to write for the world’s greatest orchestra of teenagers, and an experience I will never forget.
As a starting point for this project, we were given the brief that was to imagine a deleted scene from Romeo and Juliet and create a new orchestral piece in response (in just over a week!). I responded to this by imagining a different narrative for the play where, in an alternative universe, Romeo and Juliet exist but are complete strangers. However, they are still drawn to each other and neither of them knows why. I have created waves of sounds that oscillate throughout the orchestra, especially towards the end, to represent the force drawing Romeo and Juliet together.
My piece was inspired by the masked ball scene from Romeo and Juliet. I thought an interesting idea would be to take a classic dance that would have been done at the time (the Bourée) and combine it with a very modern counterpart (the Bossa Nova), which produces interesting musical consequences as it cuts back and forth between the two.
snow on a raven’s back
My piece focusses on two lines from Romeo and Juliet and, in particular, is inspired by this evocative, contrasting image:
“For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back.”
The dark feel of the raven with its wings of night contrasts the pure snow. In my piece the former dominates the snow's fragility with tar-like viscosity that lingers in our ears, but the snow flurries everywhere, eventually covering the raven, leaving a static image of white.
…to be consorted with the humorous night
…to be consorted with the humorous night takes its title from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, quoting a line spoken by Benvolio in his drunken search for Romeo, accompanied by the play’s comic Mercutio. The unruly boisterous word-play and theatrical lack of control of this short dialogue juxtaposes the infamous balcony scene which occurs simultaneously. It was the contrast between these two scenes that I wanted to explore in this orchestral miniature with a recurring straightforward line which runs throughout the piece, the shifting focus of the energy from the rowdy street to the intimacy of Juliet’s balcony provides an architectural outline from which the piece hangs.
We are grateful to PRS for Music Foundation, The Boltini Trust, The RVW Trust and The Steel Charitable Trust who support our NYO Composers’ section, making our work possible.
Are you a teenage composer? Want to be part of the national team in 2020? We’re holding free interviews for composers aged 13-18 to join the NYO composer section and immerse themselves in a year of creative opportunities with NYO. To find out more and how to apply, click here.