Commissioned by the Scottish Ensemble with support from the PRS for Music Foundation
Instrumentation: String orchestra (126.96.36.199.1)
First performance of Chimes at Midnight: 14 Feb 2013. Scottish Ensemble, Marryat Hall, Dundee.
First performance of Mr Jonathan Morton, His Ground: 3 Dec 2012. Scottish Ensemble, Marryat Hall, Dundee.
First performance of Touch: 7 June 2013. Scottish Ensemble, Music Hall, Aberdeen.
First performance of In Memoriam: 22 Oct 2012. Scottish Ensemble, Caird Hall, Dundee.
First performance of complete set: 21 Oct 2013. Scottish Ensemble, Music Hall, Aberdeen.
These pieces were written for the Scottish Ensemble’s 2012-13 season, with one included in each of their UK tours. Although the musical idea underlying each piece might fit on the back of a postcard, the result is a little more substantial. They can be performed individually or as a complete set.
I – Chimes at Midnight
A series of bells. From within the resonance, echoes of a dance emerge, and a high violin sings.
II – Mr Jonathan Morton, His Ground
Where the violin leads, the others follow, eventually arriving at rich, gleaming microtonal chords covering all registers. Throughout the whole piece a simple melodic phrase loops over and again.
III – Touch
A toccata of scurrying semiquavers in which the players join, separate, and recombine in ever-changing groupings to create a many-voiced polyphony. The journey repeats – though with each iteration it is squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces, until eventually it is barely there at all.
IV – In Memoriam
Stepping out into what seemed to be the first day of Spring: barely a breeze, and the sunlight warm against my face. A sequence of microtonal harmonies gradually transform into singing cello lines backed by fragments of dance and birdsong.