Second Place Winner 2018 Australian Music Composition Competition
Rick Alexander is an engineer by day – he received a Ph.D. from Monash University in the 1980s – but his passion is classical guitar. Rick started composing for guitar in the mid-1990s and has released two CDs of his solo classical guitar compositions, the most recent in 2013. He’s also released a CD of his songs performed with singer Adelaide Greenaway. In the 2000s he studied composition and improvisation with guitarist Jarek Czechowicz and performed with Jarek and Brian Fisher (muted trumpet).
In recent years Rick has started composing music for ensembles. He’s composed classical guitar duets, some of which he performed with guitarist Nicole Neal. He’s also recently started composing classical guitar trios and quartets. His piece “Jade” is to be performed by the Victorian Guitar Orchestra in 2018.
Rick enjoys writing multi-part music. He thinks of the process of composition as a bit like working with clay and wood. He assembles ideas, builds a framework and then the contents are filled in stage by stage. As with clay, musical ideas can be added, manipulated, distorted, transformed.
Rick is studying classical guitar with Ben Dix and is a member of the Victorian Guitar Orchestra.
Inspired by the storm over a beach evocatively captured in Sue Needham’s artwork Stormy Seashore, Storming is in four sections: “Prequel”, “The Calm Before”, “The Storm” and “The Calm After”.
“The Prequel” begins with a single violin. But the violin is soon joined by guitar and rhythmic strings, setting the scene for the rest of the composition.
“The Calm Before” begins with arpeggiated guitar which opens up into open, ringing guitar variations, accompanied by slow melodic harmonies on the strings.
In “The Storm”, violin and cello start by introducing a rhythm and are then joined by the other instruments. The players take turns playing a melody line and variations as the wind rises. A syncopated rhythmic pulse supplied by the strings is then augmented by an energetic regular pattern from the guitar, reminiscent of sheets of hail. And then to the peak of the storm, where the string quartet and guitar evoke the energy unleashed by nature. We then revisit “The Prequel”, but now with the quieter energy of the winding down storm. “The Storm” ends with a burst of exuberance from the players.
Finally, we start another day with the coda “The Calm After”, which revisits the guitar arpeggios and string harmonies of “The Calm Before”. “The Calm After” ends with shimmering tremolo from the strings fading to silence with a final chord from the guitar.
Hear these award winning works and more in concert in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne when Matt Withers and Acacia Quartet tour with their Imaginations program in August & September. Full details and tickets here