Phamie Gow: The Milky Way

Context

Scottish composer Phamie Gow is a multi-instrumentalist who was classically trained at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire. She studied under Ronald Stevenson and regularly undertook commissions, films and theatre work whilst studying. Since graduation, Gow has produced and released nine albums of her own original music. She has collaborated with some fantastic musicians including the McOpera String Quartet, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the London Metropolitan Orchestra.

Gow’s music isn’t always strictly classical, with some of her works featuring folk and jazz elements too. Her music has been played on many national radio stations, including Classic FM, with regular presenter John Suchet describing Gow as “a brilliant young composer”. 

As well as composing all the music, Gow is also a talented multi-instrumentalist. Known for her harp and piano talents, she has performed on some of the biggest stages and festivals in the world. In 2009, Gow performed alongside Ray Davies and Philip Glass at The Carnegie Hall in New York. 

Her 2018 album Beyond the Milky Way has received international acclaim and has received over 10 million plays on digital media platforms. The album features the McOpera String Quartet, as well as Gow on piano and vocals. The album was selected as ‘Album of the Week’ by Classic FM and tracks are regularly performed on the station. 

 

The Music

The Milky Way is the first track of the album and is written for solo piano. Sparkling high pitched chords open the piece. These soon develop into the main melodies of the piece. The right hand takes the lead on the melody, with the left playing soft and sweet chordal accompaniment. 

The pace picks up slightly, with the shimmering semiquavers from the right hand shining through. The use of triplet movement between the hands offers an interesting rhythmic structure to the piece. As the hands begin to slowly come down the piano into the richer end of the instrument, the intensity heightens. The rich textures created by the use of chords and pedals soon disappears as the hands reach the top octaves again. 

The melody is developed across the whole instrument, showing you the span of the Milky Way itself! The atmosphere is calming, even in the more intense sections. There is a sense of pure serenity in parts of the piece as the music becomes more nostalgic and vulnerable in the top octaves. 

The left hand gets a fragment of melody towards the end of the piece, which features a rhythmic turn. This is further embellished by glistening high chords and arpeggios. The piece ends where we began, in the shimmering top octave of the piano before a sparkling flourish finishes this lovely work. 

 

Final Thoughts

Phamie Gow’s talents span from her compositional talents to her musicianship. Her soothing sound and delicate touch makes The Milky Way the ideal relaxation piece. 

 

Happy Reading!

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