Mid-Oceaned

viola and cello
2017
Duration 12’00
Instrumentation viola, cello
First Performance 29 May 2018 Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London; Arditti String Quartet: Ralf Ehlers (viola), Lucas Fels (cello)
Commissioned by The Hepner Foundation in memory of Leo Hepner
Preview/Buy Score & Parts

The day we awoke to was milk-white, visibility no more than a boat length. We moved slowly with, it seemed, a hidden resistance. The water was not wholly calm. To the naked eye the surface appeared flat but unsettling and unbelievably so. An imperceptible swell gently rocked the boat. Then, as the mist lifted, a boundless horizon with endless shades of blue revealed itself. The temperature began to rise and the moisture sought its escape from the humid air.

Travelling east by sea, on the 18th of April we crossed the international date line. The day was reset. How would it play out for a second time?

Glistening blue, the sun was beating down. Sparks danced as the sunlight caught the shifting waters. Choppy and cold, the ocean was threatening. The boat, as a sabre through a curtain of ruffled silk, cut through the heavy waves. We moved quickly, or so it appeared. The day couldn’t be more contrasting, fast, animated and unpredictable; change was sitting patiently on a diminishing horizon.