Ambrose Seddon is an English composer who studied at Goldsmiths and currently holds a chair at Bournemouth University; his academic work was supervised by Denis Smalley. He’s achieved an international reputation in his career and has worked in the areas of electronic, electroacoustic, and acousmatic music. His Espaces éphémères presents six of his recent compositions.
Reading his notes here, which are very lucid, I’m warming to his work as it seems to be inspired by practical and everyday things, yet also allows some room for speculation about the bigger issues, such as ageing and the passing of time. Some pieces are directly inspired by his own family, his children and his parents. My favourite piece here is The Nowness of Everything, which has a connection to his parents’ house as well as the work of playwright Dennis Potter; apparently created from the sounds made by ordinary objects, very heavily treated and disguised, and what comes across is something of the mental process of Seddon, as he reflects and ruminates on aspects of mortality. I shan’t say that he’s created a direct, emotionally-laden work, but there’s an oddness to the sounds and a general mysterious aura to the music which is appealing.
In keeping with the overall title Espaces éphémères, Seddon seems to be acutely aware of the fleeting joys of life, which seem to pass by far too quickly for all of us; this is reflected in his work, along with a reminder to keep paying attention, and remember that life is not a rehearsal.