• Kevin Volans
  • Cover Him With Grass (1979)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • tape of natural sounds (stereo)
  • 17 min

Programme Note

The initial impulse for writing these pieces was a reconciliation of African and European aesthetics. They are not minimalist. When I wrote them I was frustrated both with the bland mechanism of repeat-pattern music and with serial technique. I wanted to move away from a conceptualist approach to composition.

Traditional African music has an existential quality which attracted me. It is essentially a music of being not becoming. It does not aim at transporting the listener, but reinforces and intensifies the here and now. The music is not conceptualised in any way.

I took the liberty of approaching European music from the point of view of an African. This learning process led me to more flexible solutions.

Shortly after writing these pieces I realised that style is not a way to begin a composition. Style is a red-herring: it can stand in the way of both the composer and the listener.

Kevin Volans