Commissioned by Riot Ensemble
for five bassoons
I am completely obsessed with the solo albums of the various members of The Beach Boys. Some of them (Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue) are genuinely marvellous while others (Mike Love's Looking Back With Love) are unforgivably atrocious. Whatever their musical merits, these albums all illuminate part of the fascinating story of a profoundly screwed-up bunch of people.
I've always seen Carl Wilson as a slightly tragic character, constantly overshadowed by his two older brothers: one a super-talented musical genius, the other an hedonistic, womanising partier. I think his two solo albums were his attempt to really establish his own, individual personality separate from them. They don't really succeed, and I feel like there's an enormous amount of pathos in that.
My bassoon quintet Youngblood II uses a tiny bit of material taken from computer audio analysis of the Carl Wilson song What More Can I Say as a seed for a sort of quasi-baroque canonic study. Hopefully, in its five minutes it encapsulates some of the ideas and emotions which I attach to Carl Wilson and his solo albums.
February 5, 2014 - Riot Ensemble, Jeremiah Cawley, conductor, The Forge, London, UK