Laurence Crane takes on our quickfire questions ahead of Saturday 10 October, when we premiere his London Sinfonietta commission Chamber Symphony No.2 ‘The Australian’.
What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?
I’m not sure…I’m very cautious about publicly highlighting a single work as my best. Perhaps I could say that my greatest achievement is to be still composing 40 years after I started? Although I suspect that some people would not regard that as an achievement.
What do you fear?
Too many things! To single one out would be to tempt fate.
Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you as a composer?
Again there are many, from many different genres and types of music. I am going to restrict myself to what is broadly termed ‘contemporary classical’ and acknowledge my debt to Howard Skempton and, particularly, his early piano music. I’ll pick out his Piano Piece 1969. I would also like to mention the Swiss composer Juerg Frey’s Second String Quartet, a completely extraordinary work.
What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
In April 1991 I was the singer in a band that performed at 7am in a large marquee, which had been erected in the middle of Marble Arch in London for an event marking the start of a London to Paris vintage car rally. Our set was made up entirely of songs with the word ‘morning’ in the title. Joanna Lumley was there.
What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
September issue of Cycle Sport magazine…on the cover ‘How Froome won the Tour’.
What was the first recording you ever bought?
Diamond Dogs by David Bowie, vinyl LP purchased from W H Smith’s in Oxford in the summer of 1974.
Describe your compositional style in three words.
Sculpted. Frugal. Stubborn.
If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
A warden on a bird reserve.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Tell us your best musical joke.