2022 was a year that sparked inspiration for me. I am not talking about just one spark either, but a series that beautifully led me to the creation of my piece. After seeing the 2022 MetSO program it was evident that it lightly using the Brass players, and I knew they were feeling a bit underutilised. Which sparked the first idea in my mind to write a piece that would take full advantage of their skills, and heavily use brass instruments. The program coincided with the 45th Anniversay of the Orchestra which started it life as the Karrinyup Symphony Orchestra. Rekindling the orchestra’s relationship with the City of Stirling and returning to the City of Stirling as a rehearsal venue in 2023, was another spark of inspiration which led me towards the piece’s naming… the ‘Karrinyup Fanfare’. The last spark of inspiration was a query inside my mind. The opening of the piece contrasts two somewhat conflicting meanings of the word Karrinyup. During an Aboriginal Studies unit, I discovered that Karrinyup is a Noongar word that translates to “the place where there are spiders”. However, this differs from the City of Stirling official meaning of the name Karrinyup on the website. It states the word means “the place where Kangaroos drink”, possibly because it sounds much more pleasant and doesn’t inspire the fear that spiders often do. It was this contrary interpretation of the word ‘Karrinyup’ which provided the final spark of inspiration I needed for this composition. You see, when you listen to the opening, the theme jumps up and down through the horns, and represents the Kangaroo – Yongka. Whilst as the fanfare continues, you will notice the second theme – the crawling strings represent the spider – Kar. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it. May it, and this new year, spark inspiration for you.
A minimalist piano piece inspired by a road trip across the Nullabor, the stretch of road between Adelaide and Perth in Australia.
After an interrupted start, it expands into a molto perpetuo that depicts the continuous movement as you drive across this large continent. It expands, and changes in style, yet there is familiarity through the sections. It then cuts – almost abruptly – into a slower, reflective space. Driving across for the first time, there is a sense of awe that comes at certain parts, as you reflect on what you are doing. But that reflection can’t last forever, and it transitions back into the molto perpetuo once again. The piece closes with more reflection, remembering the incredible journey.
This piece would be excellent for a recital or performance. Length: 13-14 minutes. If you are performing this piece, please let me know through my socials – Ben Clapton Music on all the platforms – or as a comment below – so that I can send through some encouragement.
Solo Piano Composition. List Price: US$6.97.Buy it here.
The Power of Jesus Christ will Reign
A fun, boppy, composition suitable for performance in church. The lyrics of the Chorus read:
And we thank you Lord Jesus for the things you’ve done,
We’ve got a new heart from you and a new spirit too,
and we will shout all your praises from the highest of heights
For we are cleansed of our sins by the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is an original composition by Ben Clapton. It was written with a Salvation Army Songsters group in mind, but is suitable for all choral groups.
SATB and Piano (With Chords). List price: US$4.50. Buy it here.
Love Out Loud
This song draws on 1 John 4:12, the Lord’s Prayer, and also a devotional by Joyce Meyer (although, I didn’t read the devotional, just liked the title). This is a choral arrangement of the recorded track, available at benclapton.id.au
SATB and Piano, List price: US$4.99. Buy it here
The Stations of the Cross
For String Quartet and Narration. Composed 2014. 4 Movements. AUD$40.
A number of years ago now, when I was 21, I was housesitting over Easter. I watched The Passion of Christ on Good Friday. Through watching it, and thinking about music (as I was want to do at the time, studying Classical Music), I realised that there weren’t many compositions that explored this idea of the Stations of the Cross. While there are many examples of pieces relating to Easter, such as Bach’s St Matthew Passion or St John Passion, I couldn’t think of any that actually combine the stories as is found in the Stations of the Cross. Part of the reason is probably because many versions of the Stations of the Cross include extra-biblical material – that is, parts that have been accepted into the stations through tradition, and weren’t actually biblical. So I decided that I would start writing a piece based upon the Stations of the Cross.
First, I found a version of The Stations of the Cross to follow, which was the one that Pope John Paul II followed in 1991, which I chose because the 14 stations were based on passages from the bible narratives. Of the 14 passages, there’s 3 from Matthew, 3 from Mark, 5 from Luke, and 3 from John. I decided to write for String Quartet and Narration, mainly because I knew how to write for strings, and would be able to utilise the colours and effects effectively to evoke the text. In terms of overall arrangement, I decided that it would work best in 4 movements – the first covering the first 6 stations, then the second with stations 7 to 9, the third with stations 10 to 12, and the final movement with stations 13 and 14.
I originally wanted to base this work from a relatively popular translation of the text, however the number of verses was more than their fair use policy allowed, and upon seeking out permission to use it, I was going to be charged a large amount to use the text, for a licence that would only last 3 years. (As it’s been 7 years since I started this, I’m glad I didn’t shell out the money). As such, the text comes from the Open English Bible, an “open source” Bible released into the public domain. The Narration is notated, but is only intended as a guide as to where it starts, and roughly where it finishes. The narration is intended to sound as natural as possible, but lining up with the elements in the music.
I started by writing prose notes to describe my thoughts as to how each of the four movements would come together. The notes that follow are largely based off those notes, along with what it actually ended up as. Continue reading “The Stations of the Cross”