The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music: The Interviews

Posted by Maxine Cook, Marketing Assistant

This week, James Saunders has uploaded his interview with Christopher Fox.


Interview with Christopher Fox

The draw of the experimental music canon for Christopher Fox as a young composer was its opening up of possibilities denied by various intransigent musical orthodoxies which surrounded him. Whilst at first listen the soundworlds of his subsequent compositions are somewhat disparate, in much of his music this is as a result of the collision of opposites: clarity and complexity, consonance and dissonance, rhythm and stasis, indeterminacy and fixation. It is this that binds his work at a deeper level alongside a sustained exploration of process in many guises, a strategy which underpins much experimental music. Indeed, there has been a marked shift in his recent work towards structural mobility and other indeterminate approaches to realizing material in particular, making this more explicit. His large-scale Everything You Need To Know (1999-2001) for up to ten players and voice(s) comprises 26 separately realizable compositions and can last from 5-85 minutes in performance. Whilst such modularity draws comparisons with the inauguration of modern experimentalism almost half a century earlier, Fox says these pieces offer order rather than anarchy, and it is perhaps that which sets them apart. I first became aware of his music in the early 1990s and was drawn to the sudden cuts between either subtly or extremely differentiated materials. The objectivity of this work was striking through its presentation of material in such a clear manner. Later, as my doctoral supervisor, the discussions we had helped shape my ideas on open form pieces at a time when we were both producing modular work, albeit in entirely different ways.

The interview was conducted by email from 5 November 2004 – 7 November 2005.


The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental MusicRead the full interview here

All the interviews from James Saunders can be found in The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music.

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