Composers Edition is delighted to be collaborating with Vision Edition to publish Richard Barrett’s Music of Possibility in which the composer sets out his distinctive vision for an exploratory approach to creating music in the 21st century, one which emphasises freedom and openness of the imagination throughout the musical process, from conception, through realisation, to listening and understanding.
This is not just an invitingly readable guide to Richard Barrett’s fascinating music, it also outlines a genuinely inspiring artistic philosophy involving some of the most compelling ideas about contemporary music and how to make it. For me, Barrett’s contribution is essential to any understanding of the larger picture of creative music today.Rachel Campbell
The first part of the book explores what for Barrett are the four most crucial innovations in musical thinking made during the 20th century – systematic composition methods, free improvisation, the use of electronic/digital technology and the awareness of music’s historical, geographical and social situatedness – and how to evolve an approach which simultaneously unifies and radicalises them. The book’s second part discusses how these ideas are realised in a number of compositions written during the period between 2013 and 2016.
The third part consists of a series of dialogues with five of his closest musical partners, emphasising the central collaborative aspect of the musical vision embodied in the book: Daryl Buckley, guitarist and director of the ELISION ensemble; Paul Obermayer, composer and the other half of the electronic duo FURT; cellist Arne Deforce; Kees Tazelaar, composer of electronic music and director of the Institute of Sonology; and Milana Zarić, harpist and director of Ensemble Studio6. The fourth part then brings the reader (almost!) up to date with a discussion of how the ideas developed in the preceding parts have evolved further in the music he’s composed in the last three years.
Music of Possibility is the first in a series of detailed personal accounts by composers to be published by Vision Edition. Created in 2013 by Composers Edition’s John Palmer, Vision Edition publishes writings on composition, aesthetics, musicology and applied musicianship of an educational nature. The next in this series will be Frank Denyer.
We are proud to publish this important book by one of the most uncompromising and seminal musicians of our timeJohn Palmer, Vision Edition