Adrift for orchestra
commissioned by the Saariaho 60th Birthday Fund administered by Chester Music
The restless and fluid nature of the music in Adrift tends to keep any real sense of stability out of reach. From the start, this is a piece on the move: always unfolding with a sense of impending arrival. Three distinct types of music emerge: an obsessive ostinato, a warped melody, and an interruptive flourish. Throughout the piece these figures reappear in shattered, stretched, and distilled forms, often layered over each other in varied configurations.
Although Adrift is in one continuous movement, the piece really has two parts. The first part, which is slightly longer, ends with an impassioned melodic statement in the strings that unravels and leads to the only true moment of stasis in the entire piece. The remainder of the work is a compressed misremembering of the previous music, which reorders and distorts gestures from the first part.
Adrift was commissioned with funds from the Saariaho 60th Birthday Fund administered by Chester Music, in celebration of Kaija Saariaho’s 6oth birthday. I dedicate the piece to Kaija, with admiration and gratitude.
Circle Limit for cello
commissioned by Rainer Eudeikis
This cello piece takes its inspiration, and its title, from M.C. Escher’s geometrically informed series of transformational prints. In these puzzle-like images, interlocking patterns of one or two simple figures are gradually and seamlessly transformed into larger shapes. These configurations create a visual illusion that draws the eye to the patterned smaller figures and the resulting larger shapes simultaneously. In my piece I translate this visual paradox into a musical one. Highly contrasting fragments of music are patterned and gradually transformed, drawing the ear in several directions at once. Out of this localized chaos broader musical shapes and trajectories emerge. Despite the piece’s sharp juxtapositions and dizzying array of ever-fluctuating surface detail its larger shape simply unfolds a slow descent, beginning about as high as the cello can possibly play and ending (thanks to the scordatura tuning) below the ‘normal’ range of the instrument.
Fracture: five miniatures for clarinet
This series of interconnected miniatures was written for Mark Simpson, in collaboration with choreographer Thomas Peacock and the London Contemporary Dance School. These miniatures have a playful and balletic character that I believe comes from working closely with, and observing dancers throughout my work on these pieces. Although dance was integral to the composition of this piece, the work can also be performed without choreography, as a solo concert piece.