"(the artist, Beckett,).. views his task as moving in an infinitely small space toward what is effectively a dimensionless point."
As anyone proceeds along the path of slowly evolving self-awareness that is part of an artistic discipline, there is always a sense of unease that accompanies any feeling of progress: it is always so easy to tear apart any art-object created with the question "why this particular X here instead of Z?" Often, there is also the suspicion that there are profound difficulties in justifying any particular aesthetic standpoint for an individual's artistic decisions, a self-consciousness that can become crippling. Should a shrug suffice?
Following a series of projects to explore the uses of improvisation within compositions, the direction of every piece has led to areas not envisioned when I considered the possibilities thrown up by each successive piece. The idea of improvisation as a concept diametrically opposed to pre-composed material was soon superseded by the view that it embodied a collection of varied processes, with differing degrees of structure. This idea of process and particularity within an improvisation then led to insights into the organization of both local and global conceptions of overall structure within a more traditional through-composed format. This all stemmed from the recognition that improvisation is essentially a process. The problem was as to how to encompass these processes in a more traditional format to allow them to contribute to the overall structure and avoid the danger that the improvisation can become a bit featureless.
I realised that improvisation takes place in real time and is effective in revealing the particular, and, more importantly, within a given improvisation between individuals there will always be a number of disjunct particular processes at play. These are not always entirely intentional, yet they combine to create an apparently coherent whole. What that insight in turn inspired was the next (and admittedly tangential) inductive leap, that the incorporation of a number of simultaneous and divergent processes could also be used within the pre-composed material. What's more, it is a way of further opening the piece out to the particular as a reflection of the world around us, which for me is a vital component of an artistic object. And so, as the apparent clutter of our everyday experience is still underpinned by unseen physical laws, the pieces possess their own internal structure.
Selected List of Works:
Textile Lunch - (CD) Settings of Beat poetry with the Flanagan-Ingham Quartet.
Like Miles - Trumpet concerto for soloist and orchestra, SPMN commission Performed London Claygate Festival '01 by the London Metropolitan Orchestra with soloist Gerard Prescenser
Pmood - Digital composition for Csound program
Hootie - Digital composition for Csound program
Gashi Dojo - for male chorus, brass wind and percussion; a setting of Shomyo chant, '00
Two Poems by Gary Snyder - a setting for baritone and chamber group.
Not Sextets - piece for orchestra performed APU Sinfonia, Cambridge, '01
RipRap series - For spoken voice and jazz quartet, in collaboration with the American Beat Poet Gary Snyder This has been an on-going project since '01, performed at a number of festivals and venues around the UK. This has also resulted in two CD recordings which are both have been released on the AMP label:
Riprap part I (CD) '06 - settings of poetry texts in collaboration with Dave Gordon, Andrew Brown, Russ Morgan
Riprap part II (CD) -'07 - settings of poetry texts in collaboration with Dave Gordon, Andrew Brown, Russ Morgan
Mode For Joe: - commissioned by Damain Rayonaiss for saxophone and piano, performed at the UK Saxophone Congress in Cardiff '02, and Mumford Theatre, Cambridge in '03
Mode for Joe II, - commissioned by the SPNM for the Homemade Orchestra and Tim Whitehead at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the London Jazz Festival in Nov '03.
Double Concerto for Viola, Cello, and String Orchestra - Feb. 06
Newset for Violin and piano, for Mifune Tsuji. Performed , March 07.
Duet: Violin and Piano, no. 2 Performed November 07
The Ten Thousand Things- opera/oratorio for two soloists, choir, and chamber orchestra, based on the life of Matteo Ricci, with libretto by the poet Malcolm Guite , '06, performed in West Road, Cambridge, November 07.
Riprap/Text collaborations 2007 - onwards. This is a series of explorations of the interaction between partially improvised backing realised by the Riprap Quartet, (Kevin Flanagan, Dave Gordon, Andy Brown and Russ Morgan)to various types of texts; the first being a series of performances with the poet Malcolm Guite.
Kevin Flanagan Quartet
This is the first section of an extended project exploring music/text collaborations.
The music was primarily inspired by the poetry of Gary Snyder, and recorded in 2005. This is being continued with a series of settings with the poet Malcolm Guite, which will form the basis of a new release. The above three free tracks with Malcolm were recorded June, 2007 in the Mumford Theatre.
all of the Riprap tracks recorded Mumford Theatre, ARU, Cambridge, by Roger Chatterton
see RipRap CD
Kevin Flanagan comes from Lowell, Mass., USA. He initially studied music and philosophy at the University of New Hampshire, and was part of Antares, a free improvisatory group that toured the Northeastern U.S. through the mid-70s to early 80s. During this period he was also involved in jazz, blues, and popular music, both recording and performing. He settled in the UK in the mid-80s, and worked on the London jazz and pop scene, playing and recording with members of Pink Floyd, Ben E. King, the Sex Pistols, Jools Holland, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Portishead, and many others. By the late 1980s he was primarily involved with jazz, playing with his own group or with musicians such as Dick Morrissey, Alan Barnes, Dave Newton, Gerard Precenser, Don Weller, Dave Cliff, Mark Edwards, Adrian Utley, and the Tommy Chase quartet around the festivals of the UK and Europe: such as Brecon, Edinburgh, Soho, and Bath in the UK; and festivals in Milan, Paris, the North Sea festival, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and others. He has put out two successful CD's with Chris Ingham as the Flanagan-Ingham Quartet, and is presently collaborating with Dave Gordon in a series of poetry settings of the Pulitzer-prize winning Beat poet Gary Snyder and others. This has resulted in a pair of recordings, Riprap parts I &II. As a graduate of Goldsmith's University, he specialized in analysis and post-1945 music. This was followed by an MA in composition at ARU with Richard Hoadley, which resulted in the first SPNM commissioned performance of 'Like Miles' by the London Metropolitan Orchestra. The most recent commission was 'Mode for Joe II' for the Homemade Orchestra Performed at the Queen Elisabeth Hall in London last year. He has recently completed a PHD in composition at the University of Sussex with the composer Martin Butler.
see web site : kevinflanagan.net