Lawrence Casserley, Composer

Last changed 30 August, 2017

Lawrence Casserley's work as a composer has focused primarily on the use of electroacoustic means in performance. Early work from the 60s is all instrumental, but from 1969 his work is almost entirely electroacoustic. Increasingly this work has involved the use of computers, and in the 90shis work was based around the IRCAM Signal Processing Workstation, and subsequently MAX/msp on MacIntosh computers.

He has worked frequently with mixed media, music theatre and new instruments, particularly with the groups Hydra, and Peter Donebauer's VAMP in the 70s, Electric Tubes and Electroacoustic Cabaret in the 80s and the Colourscape Music Festivals since the 90s.

Apart from pre-composed work he has made extensive use of improvisation. He is, perhaps best known for his improvised performances and CDs with musicians such as Evan Parker, Barry Guy and others, and his work with the Evan Parker Electroacoustic Ensemble.

Some of his written works are published by EditionHH.

I have now started putting un-published scores onto the site, as well as links to recordings and max/msp patches for realising the electronic processing.
The index page for these is here.

Principal Compositions

1964 - 1967; Orchestral Studies
1965; 7 Pieces for 14 Players (Fl, Ob, Cl, Bn, Hn, Tp, Tb, 2 Perc, St 5tet)
12 Pieces for Piano
1967; Mixtures and Interludes (small ensemble) Published by Edition HH
1968; Fanfares for the Manifestation to the Gentiles (Organ, 3 Tpts)
Exultation for the Expulsion from Eden (Organ)
1969; The Final Desolation of Solitude (Tape - RCM Studio)
Solos, Commentaries and Integrations (Cl, Perc, Tape, Live El)
1970; Transformations I (Tape - RCM Studio)
Transformations II (Piano and Live El)
1971; Missa Spiriti Sancti - Format I (Sop, Mezzo, 2 Perc, Tape)
1972; Kyries and Alleluias I (Organ, Harpsichord, Tape)
Dodman Point (Live el and Light) in collaboration with Eddie Franklin-White
Kyries and Alleluias II (Fl, Vn, Piano, Tape)
Duolith (Tapes - RCM and Goldsmiths studios)
1973; 15 Shakespeare Kaku (Tape - Goldsmiths and SMS studios) collaboration with Bob Cobbing
1974 Hydrangea (2 voices, 2 instruments, Live El and Light) text by Bob Cobbing
1974 - 1977; Eclipse - comprising:
Kyries and Alleluias IV (16 instruments and Live El)
Transformations IV (Tape - SMS studio)
Aura (Music for Computer and Light)
1978; Hydraphone - West German Radio commission in collaboration with other Hydra composers
1982; Transformations III (Fl, Live El) Nothern Arts commission
Vista Clara (Piano, Live El) Published by EditionHH
1983; Missa Spiriti Sancti - Format II (Sop, Mezzo, 3 Perc, Ob, Cl, Tp, Vla, Piano, Tapes, Live El)
1984; PanDemonic (Giant Panpipes and Live El) in collaboration with Simon Desorgher
1985; PanHarmonic (Live Computer Music)
1987; The Unending Rose (Music Theatre for Fl, Tb, Perc, Mime Artists and Live El)
1989; Labyrinth (Music Theatre for Fl, Voice, Mime, Dance and Live El in Colourscape) commissioned by South Bank Centre with Arts Council funds
The Monk's Prayer (Bass Fl, Live El) Published by EditionHH
1990; Los Hijos del Sol (Voice, PanDrums, Live El)
1991; Ritual Dances (3 Perc, Ob, Cl, Tp, Vla, Piano, Tapes, Live El
1992; Siwrnai, Odyssey of Light (Instruments, Voices, Mime and ISPW in Colourscape) in collaboration with Simon Desorgher and Ian Cameron
1993; The Garden of Forking Paths (Guitar, ISPW)

Since the middle 1990s almost all Casserley's work has been freely improvised, rather than precomposed, and mainly collaborative. Consequently, most of this work is unscored. Many of these collaborations are documented by recordings, details of which can be found on the Discography page. There are also videos of some performances; many of these are on the Audio/Video page
In 2011, while on a tour in the USA with Adam Linson, he met the percussionist Gustavo Aguilar, who encouraged Lawrence to create a new piece for him. This precipitated a lot of thinking about the nature of improvisation and composition, and how the two can interact. A lot of work was done on the proposed piece, "Bellbuoys", for extensive percussion and live processing. Subsequently this work was interrupted by illness and other things; it is planned to return to it and complete the work, hopefully in 2018. A description of "Bellbuoys" can be found here.
Meanwhile the cellist Nicola Baroni asked if I had a piece that could be played on a tour we were planning in 2014. There wasn't time to create a detailed cello piece, but Lawrence remembered that Nicola had considerable experience interpreting graphic scores, so he decided to make one for him. Work proceded quite quickly in the autumn of 2013, and "Sette Pagine su l'Enigma del Bianco" was completed on 1 January, 2014. There is a page on "Sette Pagine..." here. Nicola has continued to play the piece, both as a solo and, as a piece for two, three or more cellos, with his Bologna Cello Project. There is a link to some performances on the Audio/Video page
In 2017, to celebrate his 76th birthday, Lawrence decided to make a piece for his old friend, the extraordinary trombonist Alan Tomlinson. He devised a constantly variable delay line with 75 taps, so everything Alan plays from the graphic score will be heard 76 times - a very big parade!! The premiere of "76" will occur at the 2017 Colourscape Music Festival.