As I Have Now Memoyre

To sing is to make sounds that are decaying with a body that is terminally fading. Sound is like life itself: it is dying from the moment it is brought into being. We deploy our memories against our fading and relive our past experiences. But the mind...

Five Actions for a Violinist

According to Egyptian legend, Osiris's body was divided into fourteen pieces by his brother, Typhon, who dispersed them across Egypt. Isis, wife of Osiris, set out to gather the pieces of the body, put them together again and become pregnant. In 2006,...
From Birdsong to Light

From Birdsong to Light

The following is the introductory text for Nicholas G. Brown's solo exhibition of sound installations, From Birdsong to Light, at Hungate Art, Norwich, May 25 - June 16, 2013. In the British Library there is a manuscript known as Harley 978. Contained...

On the Operations of the Sun

On the Operations of the Sun explores the interrelations between science, music and architecture with reference to medieval thought and the development of Western polyphony. The title comes from De Operationibus Solis, a tract by thirteenth-century...
On the Production of True Consonance

On the Production of True Consonance

Sound installation after Giovanni Battista Benedetti (1530-90). Elm wood monochord, yellow brass harpsichord wire, Arduino, servo motors, 8-channel audio, MaxMSP.  I n 1563, Giovanni Battista Benedetti , an Italian mathematician, wrote a letter...

Silence is Golden

Silence is Golden (2002-5) has evolved from a live, musico-theatrical event into an outdoor performance disseminated on DVD. The project was initially conceived for a recital given by violinist-actor, Oliver Lewis, at Dartington International Summer...

Songs from the Sky

Shortly before I began work on Songs from the Sky (2004), I happened to be in Venice, a city famous for its liberal use of music in a liturgical context. I recalled the early seventeenth-century practice of replacing standard items of Vespers with musical...
Starfish

Starfish

Song for tenor solo with piano and live electronics by Nicholas Brown. Accompanying time-lapse video of oil painting by F.C. Heathorn In 2009, I left London for Norfolk. Soon after my arrival, I wrote a short haiku/song about finding a four-armed...

The Bravery of Women

According to Egyptian legend, Osiris's body was divided into 14 pieces by his brother, Typhon, who dispersed them across Egypt. Isis, wife of Osiris, set out to gather the pieces of the body, put them together again and become pregnant. Because of her...

The Soul Finds Rest in Unity

The Soul Finds Rest in Unity (2007) returns musical activity to the practice of everyday life. Through visual documents, video, sound-works, and micro-performances, it makes an enquiry into certain encounters a violinist must face as she seeks to perform...

Vivaldi's Menagerie

Vivaldi's Menagerie (2003) is my response to the Orchestra of St John's commission for a new concerto and the result of three lines of thought. First, I have been interested for some time in the difference between a fake and the real thing and influenced...

An Audience with the Trees

An Audience with the Trees (2005) presents a 'performance' of Vivaldi's Menagerie , a concerto for violin and strings that I wrote for the Orchestra of St John's in 2003. The music of the concerto reworks melodic material from Vivaldi's Four Seasons....

Being Among the Living: On the inter-relations between performers, witnesses and environment in 'As I Have Now Memoyre' (2011)

Published in: Organised Sound , (Cambridge University Press) Vol. 16, No. 2, Aug 2011 DOI

The Flux between Sounding and Sound: Towards a relational understanding of music as embodied action (2006)

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Contemporary Music Review, Vol. 25, No. 1/2, February/April 2006, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07494460600647410 ...
By the Magician's Hand

By the Magician's Hand

The following is an edited version of programme notes written for a performance of Stravinsky's Petrushka by the Trinity College of Music Symphony Orchestra, London. The performance took place at Blackheath Halls, London on 27 March, 2008, conducted...
Drawing and the Third Dimension at Perry Green

Drawing and the Third Dimension at Perry Green

The planes of Henry Moore's sculptures convey a plasmic organicism. They seem to curve around you as you approach and to spin like a barrel on an axle as you move away. The skill in controlling our impression of these planes is the sculptor's manoeuvre....
How to Keep a Villa in Arcadia: On the Venice Biennale

How to Keep a Villa in Arcadia: On the Venice Biennale

The curious meeting of death and rustic revelry in Poussin’s Et in Arcadia Ego has been branded as utopian at least since Panovsky’s seminal critique.[1] If we follow its theme back to its classical roots, we are led to re-read Virgil's Eclogues , w...

Notes on ROSA, an opera on film by Peter Greenaway & Louis Andriessen

The following programme notes were written for the U.S. film premiere of The Death of a Composer: Rosa, a Horse Drama, at the Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center, New York on May 3, 2004. The event formed part of 'Sonic Evolutions: A Louis Andriessen...

Practising Every Day: Musical Acts in Our Daily Lives

The following is an edited transcript of a lunchtime talk that Nicholas G. Brown gave at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich on 20 May, 2010. The event formed part of an exhibition titled, The Artist’s Studio , which ran from 9 Feb - 23 Mar, 2...
Robert Wilson's 'Walking'

Robert Wilson's 'Walking'

Near the end of the twentieth century, Milan Kundera wrote about ‘a secret bond between slowness and memory, between speed and forgetting’. Kundera’s paean to considered action, Slowness , was written in 1995, the year the dot-com bubble began...