Symphony is the new album from Ed Alleyne-Johnson, including a four movement classical symphony in G minor, four live tracks and two rock tracks (all tracks are original compositions).
Wingspan Records WING CD7 (2008)
My dad had a great influence on me musically. He was a great singer with a deep bass voice, and played me classical music records when I was a boy. He bought me my first bass guitar when I was a teenager and encouraged me when I joined my first rock band. "When are you going to write me a symphony?" he would joke, as he helped me load bass cabs into the back of his car. "Who knows? Maybe one day!" I would grin in reply.
He was also a great woodworker and taught me the basic skills I needed to build my own electric violins.
When he was diagnosed with liver cancer at the end of 2007 I couldn't believe he only had a few weeks to live. I set to work to try and write him the symphony I'd promised him all those years ago; his favourite composers were Mozart and Bach so I tried to imitate their style in it, particularly in the second movement. I wrote it all out in musical notation and then recorded it at home on a computer, overdubbing about 20 violins for the string sections and playing all the other parts on an orchestral sampling keyboard. I would have loved to have recorded it with a real orchestra, but I had neither the time nor the money to do it. When it was nearly finished I took a rough mix to my Dad. "Here's that symphony I promised you!" He was really delighted with it and listened to it through headphones in the hospital during his final weeks with a smile on his face.
The album cover painting of Stan was based on a dream I had of Magritte's painting 'The Schoolteacher' (which shows the same figure from behind) turning around to reveal that he was in fact an angel coming to lead my father's soul to the afterlife, but disguised as Stan Laurel so as not to frighten him. I painted it in 2 days the week after my Dad died. Sir Peter Blake was one of my painting tutors at Oxford, and the face of Stan is the one he used on the Sgt. Pepper cover. My father actually was a schoolteacher, and he loved comedy idols like Will Hay and Laurel and Hardy.
The other tracks on the album are mostly instrumental versions of unreleased songs which I've written over the years and never used. Four of them are recorded completely live with no overdubs, just using a digital delay to layer the sound.
Although the album is essentially a personal statement, I decided to release it as a celebration of my home city of Liverpool's Capital of Culture year 2008.
Ed Alleyne-Johnson – August 2008
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Last updated on 18 Nov 2012
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