Sam Cave - I sat, I listened...

Workshop performance video

During the Covid-19 UK lockdowns in 2020-21 I took some field recordings from the window above my composing desk as I was fascinated by the absence of the normally prolific human sounds of everyday life. This piece is built from one of those recordings with the live string quartet melding with the recorded soundscape. I have tried to capture the natural beauty of the wind in the trees, the birdsong and, in the distance, the trains going by. The more I listened to the sounds I was hearing and capturing in these recordings the more I realised that many things we think of as 'musical constructs' were present and, in fact, optimally expressive, in these natural soundscapes. In this piece phrasing, structure, contour and pacing are all derived from the flow of the natural events I captured in my field recording. Some of the birdsong transcriptions are my own and others were adapted from the extraordinary transcription work of Alexander Liebermann.

Composer: Sam Cave

Composer photo
Photo of Sam Cave

Sam Cave is an English guitarist and composer. His music tends to search for for fragile intensity, a concentrated quietness and ‘flowing-stasis’. Its rhythms, harmonies and gestures aim to hint at an eternal ‘other world’ built purely of sound, and attempt to invite and reward close and concentrated listening. Sam’s work has been performed in the UK, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Lithuania, Italy, Australia and the USA by some of the most exciting young ensembles and soloists working today. He is an LSO Soundhub Associate Composer for 2017-21 and several of his pieces are published by Babelscores.

Sam studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Gary Ryan and Chris Stell with financial assistance from The Countess of Munster Musical Trust. He has also studied with Vincent Lindsey-Clark, Michael Zev Gordon, Michael Finnissy, Gilbert Biberian and Craig Ogden and graduated from the University of Southampton with first class honours and the Edward Wood memorial prize in music. In 2020 Sam completed a PhD in composition at Brunel University, London under the supervision of Christopher Fox and John Croft. Now also an educator in much demand, Sam is currently a tutor in guitar at Brunel University, London, he has been a guest lecturer in composition for guitar at Coventry University and a lecturer in composition and orchestration at Kingston University.