Instrumentation oboe, violin, viola, cello
First Performance 3 December 2016, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 15 St. Paul Street, Brookline, MA; Winsor Music: Peggy Pearson (oboe), Gabriela Diaz (violin), Noriko Herndon (viola), Rafael Popper-Keizer (cello)
Commissioned by Winsor Music
The abstract modernist painter Yves Klein writes about his work L’aventure monochrome: ‘Blue has no dimensions. It exists beyond all dimensions, whereas other colours all have a dimension.They are psychological spaces… All colours are associated with concrete, material and tangible ideas, but blue recalls, if anything, the sea and the sky, the most abstract elements of touchable and visible nature.’
The title of Bray’s oboe quartet is taken from Ezra Pound’s Cantos CX:
“waves under blue paler than heaven
over water bluer than midnight”
Both sources merged to form the inspiration behind ‘Bluer than Midnight’, a piece which explores a close connection with nature, it’s abstraction and simplicity. A slow, intimate first movement reflects this. Intensely quiet, the movement feels timeless with pulse suspended. Melodic and flowing, a duet based central movement is the most narrative part of the piece. The third movement is alive and buzzing with nervous energy.