> Steeleye Span > Records > Peter Knight: The Gemini Cadenza

Peter Knight: The Gemini Cadenza

Peter Knight: The Gemini Cadenza (Peter Knight Music PKCD001)

The Gemini Cadenza
Peter Knight

Peter Knight Music PKCD001 (CD, UK, November 1998)

Composed, played, recorded and produced by Peter Knight at The Westhill Studios, Hastings, Summer 1998;
Artwork and design by Peter Knight;
Published by Peter Knight Music.


Peter Knight: violin


  1. The Gemini Cadenza (10.35)
  2. There’s Always Tomorrow (8.30)
  3. The Life and Dead of Mrs. Pearson (10.19)
  4. Goodnight, Sleep Well (10.35)

The title track of this album is also on the CD sampler, The Fiddle Collection Volume One


Peter Knight wrote in his newsletter about this record:

The recording process is quite capable of destroying not only music, but the musician as well. I have often walked into the control room to listen to something I have just played, and sat in front of the speakers only to hear a strange squashed sound coming out, leaving me feeling empty, frustrated and bewildered. I decided that in order to record The Gemini Cadenza, I would set up my own studio and work alone. At least that way I would eliminate some of the pitfalls, and be in control of the process from beginning to end. Also, the nature of the music was such that it would be impossible to repeat a performance, and I couldn’t take a chance that during one of those performances, the cans would go dead, and an engineer’s voice would say “Once more for me please”.

Over a period of several weeks, I recorded day and night whenever the mood took me, and each time I left the studio, I made sure that it was ready for the next time so that all I had to do was press ‘Record’ and start playing. Normally, all the recording of the music is done first and then the tracks are mixed, often months later. I found that it was better for me to mix the music as soon as it was recorded so that I could clear my mind ready for the next. I also know myself quite well and felt that if the mixing was left to the end, it was likely that I would consider the music redundant, and start again.

I ended up with four pieces of music. I tried in vain to come up with one more piece until it became obvious that I had nothing more to say, and I made the decision to go with what I had. I was always aware of the fact that track three, The life and death of Mrs. Pearson, would be particularly difficult for the listener, and would inspire a variety of uncomfortable feelings, including anger, but it would have been foolish and irresponsible of me not to have included it.

I hadn’t intended to do the artwork myself, but the conversations going on between myself and the design company were so far away from the spirit of the music, I picked up pen and paper and sketched away.

The title, The Gemini Cadenza? I am a Gemini, and the Cadenza is an opportunity for a soloist to leave the confines of the formal score, and improvise. It has been part of classical music since the 1500’s, maybe before, and at one time, soloists would proudly display their skills in the art of spontaneous invention, often causing critics to react in much the same way as they would now. After all, apart from me, who wants to see a violinist `going for broke’ during a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, playing the violin upside down, and bringing a dog on the stage, it actually happened. The commercial pressure was on and composers began writing the Cadenza making it no different from the formal score.

So there it is. I have no idea about the direction of the next album, only that it will be a sincere endeavour to break new ground for myself and maybe for music in general, whether written, improvised or a combination of the two. I shall record in the summer for a release at the end of the year.

[Reproduced with permission]