Bill Canty
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January in Windsor cover


Dec 2014: One of the pieces from this album - Wonderment - was placed 9th in the Instrumental category of the Australian Songwriters Association's 2014 national awards.

JANUARY IN WINDSOR

Chapter 9 of Kenny Werner's wonderful book, "Effortless Mastery", is called "Fear-Based Composing". In it he says "It is much easier to edit material than it is to create from nothing" and "Try writing three bad pieces a day. I bet you can’t do it. Your talent will sabotage you and cause some great music to come out!"

Immediately after reading that chapter, with those thoughts fresh in my mind, I reached out to the keyboard on my left and played the opening four bars of what later became the first piece on this album. The music seemed ridiculously simple, like something Mozart might have composed when he was two years old. But I kept Kenny's words in mind, trusting that my musicianship would turn those embarrassingly unsophisticated notes into something more worthwhile. After decades of wanting to compose music I had finally started!

The equipment used to create January in Windsor

A few weeks later my partner's housemates had a holiday, so during January 2001 I stayed at her house in Windsor, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. I took an $80 laptop computer, a synthesizer module the size of a car radio and a pair of headphones. With no manuscript paper and no piano keyboard I spent most of that time composing ten of the twelve pieces on this album. The nearest 'piano' was a digital keyboard at the other end of the house; I used it briefly perhaps half a dozen times to work out some harmonies. The rest of the work was done in the edit screens of an old version of my music-creation software, the best version the aging computer was capable of running. Without my usual daily distractions and with Mary-Anne's encouragement I was able to work very consistently.

The result was a collection of beautiful pieces in light classical style with moods ranging from calm and serene to light and lively. I was quite happy with the compositions, but not with the sounds of the small synthesizer. So a few years later I bought two orchestral sound libraries, i.e. collections of digitally recorded orchestral instruments designed to be used in computerized music, with the intention of replacing the original sounds with the much better sounds from the sound libraries. That plan sounded simple in theory but actually turned into a massive chore, far more difficult and time-consuming than composing the pieces in the first place! So I kept leaving it and coming back to it every now and then over the years to try again. In the meantime, I worked on other albums and musical projects, moved house several times, and had to cope with many other significant distractions.

This is a demo of excerpts from the original 2001 version:

January in Windsor (Original) - Excerpts