About the work

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Philosophy

The relationship between composer, performer and audience is the steady focus of Ramsay's work. Often working in collaboration with specific performers and ensembles, his work draws on their unique strengths. This process involves tailoring the work not only to suit the artists, but the musical occasion and performance venue for each project as well.

 

Characterization of style

Graham Gordon Ramsay’s compositional portfolio includes works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, solo vocal pieces, choral works, and works for orchestra.  Influenced by his studies in classical vocal technique, opera, oratorio and art song literature, Ramsay’s compositions in all genres reflect a strong sense of line and lyricism. His musical language is broad and explores a range of techniques from traditional western tonality and classical forms to serialism and bitonality. Even when exploring non-traditional ideas, his music stays true to a lyrical, even singable sensibility.

One review says of the work: “Certain composers of modern classical music abandon melody, rhythm, and even tonality in an effort to discomfit; they hope to jar the listener into questioning the nature and meaning of music through brute force. Graham Gordon Ramsay is not one of those composers. He does something that’s perhaps even more difficult. He achieves freshness and conveys emotion by invoking a familiar musical vocabulary, then poking, stretching, and inverting it in delightful and unexpected ways. We’re invited to listen and re-listen to his pieces, finally coming away with a sense that we’ve learned something through a genuine interaction rather than an aural assault.”  

 Flutist Ole Nielsen and Graham Gordon Ramsay collaborate on "Four Autumn Sketches."

Flutist Ole Nielsen and Graham Gordon Ramsay collaborate on "Four Autumn Sketches."