Just wanted to quickly share an interesting contemporary composer I came across, David Braid. Potted biography: born in Wales, he left school at 16, had been gifted with a love of music thanks in part to a ‘charismatic nun from Ireland’, found the classical guitar in his late teens, worked his socks off to get into The Royal College of Music, and now composes. Braid’s music is tonal and attractive. The composers who most influenced him include Sibelius and John Dowland. (He’s also a lutenist and has written music for the instrument). To get an idea of his style, here’s his advice for young composers:
I would say to a young composer – be a rebel! Write something in D major, annoy your professor, but make it so damned interesting and beautiful that he/she has nothing to say; that is the real challenge for us now.
There is another David Braid out there, a jazz pianist, and apparently both DBs are friends. Our David Braid is the one with an album of chamber music. The first piece on that album, Morning, is a wonderful introduction to his music. For soprano and string quartet, Morning shimmers and glides, with Grace Davidson, soprano, singing in such a serene vibrato-less way. (And while it may not be in D major, its key of C major is perhaps even more rebellious.) From the booklet:
[Morning] is based on a two-note falling interval of B flat to E, over a C in the bass; these three notes set the mood for the entire piece. I was moving away from an earlier, dense, modernist style (arguably now a conservative norm) and found a new route by revisiting counterpoint and how it determines harmonic motion.