A British sound engineer and record producer, Richard Anthony Jay has also been discreetly ploughing his own furrow as a modern classical composer since 2009. After working in London for more than twenty years in the pop music and advertising industry producing and writing for other artists, the musician relocated to rural Somerset to focus on his own music. Released in September 2015 last, the Written in the Ground EP is Richard Anthony Jay’s third record as a solo composer.

Richard Anthony Jay - Written in the Ground (2015)
Richard Anthony Jay – Written in the Ground (2015)

Richard Anthony Jay released his first orchestral work on his own imprint Burning Petals Records in 2009. Arranged for piano and strings, This Is What I Live For is an impressive and fully fledged modern classical opus featuring members of the long established Manchester-based Hallé Orchestra as well as Irish uilleann piper and low whistle player Davy Spillane on the concluding track “Gone but not forgotten”. The composer followed up his début with Imperfect Beauty in 2011 which featured additional electronics and percussions.

“I’m not the fastest composer in the world – I prefer to not get involved with projects – film, dance, or whatever they may be – unless they give me the time and space to do my best work.”

The three tracks on Written in the Ground are very much imbued with that sense of time and space. Once again arranged by the self-taught pianist for members the Hallé Orchestra, the digital only release also introduces Peter Gregson on cello.

With a subtle hint of electronics, “Prelude”, “Starting Over” and “Written in the Ground” are superb slow-moving and meticulously constructed impressionistic pieces. The title track was composed for London-based contemporary dance ensemble Jack Philp Company to commemorate the centenary of World War I. Through a minimalist choreography for a quartet of dancers, the company suggest a poignant visual expression of the internal melody, harmony and rhythm of the theme.

Concise and compelling, Written in the Ground is the work of a master craftsman.