The compositions on Gardens We Create were inspired by William’s travels and experiences around the world. There are common threads linking them: clear,
melodic ideas, rooted in a folk tradition. While these ideas are developed in sophisticated ways, the compositional structures remain easy to follow. The
music is warm, expressive, wistful, and generous, much like the composer himself.
The movements of Prayers of Hope, which are spaced throughout the album, were begun in spring 2020 after lockdown. They are written using a partial capo that puts the guitar in EBEABE tuning. William writes: “I felt bereft, and wanted to write some healing music.” In Next Door Opens, a lyrical melody in E major with a simple accompaniment is varied and developed, drawing on pitches in between the notes of the major scale. The mode becomes ambiguous, and the melody ends on a note from E minor. There is a sense of yearning throughout, as the melody keeps striving for resolution.
Wonky Sky Waltz, its title inspired by a friend’s watercolour painting, follows seamlessly, in typical waltz rhythm and form. It unfolds out of a call and
response between a rising upper voice and a lower voice that descends. At times those lines veer in unexpected directions.
Memory and Loss was inspired by the expressivity and range of the jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand). There are two contrasting sections: a slow
rubato section where a hymn-like melody is harmonized with simple chords and a faster rhythmic section where these melodic ideas are cast in an
intricate texture. The straighter hymn-like rhythms are contrasted with an uneven groove in the faster passages.
We are taken on a journey.
The genesis of the main melody in Spirit Song is the Yoruban song Asokere, which here is written backwards. This melody