Adopt a Music Creator blog: Brushstrokes

Edgar Divver looks back at his collaboration with the Bedfordshire Woodwind Academy Flute Ensemble (BWAFE) for Adopt a Music Creator 2022 ahead of their premiere.

When I first started this project, I had recently moved house and had started to think about some redecorations, especially repainting some interior walls. While researching paint colours, I noticed that many of them had very interesting names, and I was fascinated by this! 

Upon delving a little more, the most interesting names, without a shadow of a doubt, were from Farrow & Ball, and so I took a trip to my local F&B store to look at the colours in more detail. I honestly could have chosen at least a dozen colours for the movements, but I felt a resonance with five of them, and these names make up the individual movements in the suite. 

'Green Smoke' is a swirling, unsettling, and jolting movement, exploring the full range of the flutes. It never feels stable, often moving unexpectedly, capturing the elusive and dangerous nature of smoke through a whirlwind of sound. 

'Elephant's Breath' is a welcome change of pace, with the contrabass and bass flutes at the centre, but the smoke lingers slightly throughout, only clearing in the final few bars. The range is noticeably lower not just in the basses but across the entire ensemble, giving a greater sense of stability. 

photo of the five colours and a recorder

The paint shades that served as inspiration for Brushstrokes

'Red Earth' maintains the low feel, but a sense of unease creeps in, the wariness of an unfamiliar place. The piccolo, G flute and alto flute play together warily, initially uncomfortable with their sound, but, eventually, the rest of the ensemble embraces the new environment as the movement closes. 

'Borrowed Light' is a stark contrast to the previous movements. The flutes soar, free of their previous worries, as they relish a moment of sun, and all through the ensemble there is joy in the sound, culminating in the brightest moment of the entire piece. 

'Citron' brings the suite to a close, reinventing what has gone before in a zesty new way, before nostalgia sets in and snippets of the sunshine return - finally ending with a race to the finish!

Keeping with the theme of paint colours, the premiere will be held in an art gallery, with workshops run by group members with children's art groups creating artwork that will be shown at the premiere itself! For these reasons, along with BWAFE's endless enthusiasm and optimism, I can truly say that this piece is not one composed by just me - I list all of the group members as collaborators too. I'm very proud of what we've achieved, and I can't wait to hear the finished project come together at the premiere. The only sad thing for me will be that it is over. 

Brushstrokes premiers on Sunday 13 November at the Milton Keynes Gallery

Follow the BWAFE on Facebook / Twitter and check out their website

Follow Edgar Divver on Twitter / Instagram and check out his website

The Adopt a Music Creator project matches vocal and instrumental leisure-time music groups with some of the UK’s most promising music creators to collaborate on creating a new piece of music. The project leads to a premiere performance and possible broadcast. If you’re a music group or music creator and you’d like to take part, find out more.