Beyond Lies The Wub
Composed by James Brady
For small orchestra 2d22.214.171.124.2 alto sax - 126.96.36.199, 1 perc, 7/6/4/3/3
Beyond Lies the Wub shares its title with the first published science fiction story by American writer Philip K. Dick, who later went on to write landmark works such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the story which Blade Runner was based on), The Man In The High Castle and Ubik. Rather than a direct depiction of the events of Dick’s story, the piece is instead loosely inspired by Dick’s work in general, which typically explores themes of unstable reality, a search for authentic identity, mental illness, war, and hallucination, and which was a major area of reading interest for me during my teenage years. Another source of inspiration when writing the piece was memories of journeys through the Scottish Highlands, in particular a stormy and dramatic drive along the A835 from Inverness to Ullapool on my honeymoon in 2018.
The piece is melodically driven, with prominent themes, but also highly rhythmic in nature and for the most part a vigorous, driving tempo should be maintained. However, opportunities to use rubato occur at letters K, O and R in particular. The spectrum of characters in the piece range from violent and menacing (opening, letters N and Q), through determined (A, G, R), passionate (J, b. 316, T), light and bouncing (C, D, F), mysterious and magical (K, P) and heroic (E, M, S). The harmonic language of the piece incorporates bright, major tonality as well as strong dissonance. All sections of the orchestra are featured prominently.
I created this version of the piece specifically for the Nevis Ensemble’s 2020 call for works, expanding on a smaller version which for string quartet and jazz quartet, which I performed at Union Chapel, London, in 2018, and a later version for big band, performed at the Vortex Jazz Club, London, in 2019. Compared to those, this version contains significant additional material and structural changes.
I’d like to acknowledge the support of my wife Cathy, and of Huw Watkins, both of whom provided invaluable feedback, insights and encouragement during the composing of this piece.