The Norse Suite (video)

This is the second to last piece from the concert videos, and there are two different versions of the piece available to be watched:

The Norse Suite – concert version & The Norse Suite – final version

The difference between the two videos is that after the premiere performance (concert version), I made some revisions to the piece… changing some sections, moving a couple of things around, cutting some stuff out, and linking the 3rd and 4th movements. And as I wanted to have video for all of my PhD pieces I had to ask Adam, Yotam, and Dan if they would mind recording the piece again so that I could have the new final version of the piece on file.

SO… if you only have time to watch one version, I would recommend the Final Version… but if you want to hear the difference, and see what it was like in the concert, then please watch the Concert version as well.

The Norse Suite – J.Mayall
for viola and cello

Viola: Adam Maha
Cello: Yotam Levy

This piece was originally intended for the combination of viola and electric guitar. Unfortunately writing contemporary classical music (with traditional notation) is difficult for electric guitar as many rock guitarists come from a background very different to that of score-reading classical musicians. The piece was then adapted for viola and cello – but it aims to retain a lot of that stylistic writing for guitar, and tries to re-create crunchy distortions and electronic delay effects using only the natural sound of the instruments.

Recorded at the Gallagher Concert Chamber at the University of Waikato


The Norse Suite – Final Version from Jeremy Mayall on Vimeo.


The Norse Suite – concert version from Jeremy Mayall on Vimeo.

Things are moving forward

Well, it has been a long road on this re-write of a piece for my PhD. Many changes and re-arrangements, constantly fine-tuning the mix, the video is being edited… and it is finally reaching a visible end point. Plus I have had some feedback from supervisors & colleagues saying that the piece is much stronger now – so I guess all the stress and work was worth it!
The piece started out as “They say a word is dead”… and is now called “The Long White Cloud”. I am very much looking forward to sharing it with you soon!

In the meantime, work is continuing on various things, including:

– A short transportation musical
– The exhibition of the collaborative moving image piece ‘flow’.
– in talks about three new projects for the coming months
– still working away on my piano trio piece.

Good things are happening, and soon there will be lots of new music for me to share!

While you wait, go and check out my soundcloud and listen to some previous work! Or check some videos out on youtube!

To Entertain a Wolf

Earlier this year I was asked to write a piece for string quartet by my friend Adam Maha. His quartet was going to be competing in some competitions, and they wanted to play a brand new piece.

So, I thought this would be a good chance to add another piece to my composition portfolio, and re-visit an ensemble I hadn’t written for since the score for Down by the Riverside.

‘To Entertain a Wolf’ – String Quartet no.1 is my interpretation of the tradition of string quartet writing with the added genre influence of minimalism, modal jazz music, some romantic-esque string writing and film scoring techniques.

The narrative structure of this piece is loosely based around a morning with my son. The piece is also dedicated to him.

Wolfgang looks over the score for ‘To Entertain a Wolf’

Written for and performed by the Taiaha Quartet
Jin Kim – Violin
Ngaru Martin – Violin
Adam Maha – Viola
Tamsin Kreymborg – Cello

The audio recording is from the finals of the 2012 Pettman/ROSL ARTS International Scholarship for a Chamber Music Ensemble.

The video is a slideshow of photos of my son for the past 8 and a bit months that he has been alive.

Days filled with music

My days are either filled with looking after my boy or working on my PhD.

Luckily, my PhD is a creative practice based portfolio/thesis that involves me composing a lot of new original music, and then writing about the music I have written. (Somewhere in that process I also get to perform that music with some great musicians!)

As part of that PhD research I am reading about and listening to music. It is a beautiful thing. Each day I can revisit an old favourite with fresh ears, find something completely new, or have the pleasure of going to a live performance and hearing something I didn’t even consider looking into.

Continue reading

The Birth (a performance piece)

I am currently in the process of finalising the video of my most recent composition for my PhD portfolio… it is sometimes a long process, but totally worth it to have a visual as well as aural record of my work.

My PhD portfolio is aiming to explore the possibilities cross-genre hybridity in new music composition. The research methodology is practice-based, where the compositions make up the bulk of the thesis.  One of these pieces is called The Birth.

The Birth is a multimedia performance piece which combines a number of forces: a mixed ensemble of musicians (from both classical and popular traditions); video projection; dance; theatre; opera singers; circus performers; and pyrotechnics. Musically it brings together elements from the genres of 20th Century chamber opera, narrative film score, minimalism, rock and electronica and puts them together with the tradition of the narrator (from film and theatre) to help tell the story.

The story is a new take on the age old myths of creation and the battle of good vs. evil. It features a libretto by Shoshana Sachi, a video backdrop by Dan Inglis, and pyrotechnics from Van Tiel Pyrotechnics.

Here is a video from the world premiere performance at the University of Waikato Blues Awards:

Performance video put together by the good folks at Chasing Time Productions