Composing's not voluntary, you know. There's no choice, you're not free. You're landed with an idea and you have responsibility to that idea.
Music is such a problem in the time it takes.
Minimalism now is a reaction to what came before. It's absolutely of its time. Music moved into the set theory thing, and moved out of it.
My operas and my theatre works are very formal pieces.
My operas usually come from musical ideas rather than ideas about subject matter.
One thing I've tried to do in writing music is take on very basic things, very archetypal things.
People say my music is English. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's not me writing English music, but that English music is becoming more like me.
The opera tells the story with all the built-in contradictions and from many different angles.
The piece that had a large influence on me was Turangalila.
This sounds horribly pretentious, but I like to think that if music hadn't existed, I could have invented it.
You either are or you're not.
The theatre only knows what it's doing next week, not like the opera, where they say: What are we going to do in five years' time? A completely different attitude.
In the end it doesn't matter what you do.
I'm not an architectural composer.
I wrote music as soon as I knew notation.
When I dealt with set theory, I could never make it be the music that I wanted.
I don't have ideas so much as there are things which constantly evolve... there are various threads or layers, if you like, which change.
I think music has gone through a period of something very severe, rather radical, rather the way painting did with cubism.
I'm not a music lover in the sense that I look for something to have on. I've never had that attitude to music.
There are rhythmic ideas which sometimes only work up to a point. In writing there are moments when it just comes off the page, it's not just a collection of notes.
I don't think there is much American music.
My attitude to writing is like when you do wallpapering, you remember where all the little bits are that don't meet. And then your friends say: It's terrific!
It's the irrational things that interest me.
I always write the pieces I want to write.
I didn't have a record player.
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