The Sun was Chasing Venus
“a fine 15-minute work that was bookended by two pillars – Mendelssohn’s stirring Second Quintet in B flat, Op. 87, and Brahms’s glowing First Quintet in F major, Op. 88 – and came off none the worse in such company. … there was much textural variety and ample evidence of the composer’s keen musical ear and stylistic rigour.”
Instrumentation 2 violins, 2 violas, cello
First Performance 3 April 2014, Savannah Music Festival, Savannah, Georgia, US; The Dover Quartet with Daniel Lee (viola)
Commissioned by Savannah Music Festival
Recording Chamber and Solo Works (2018), RTF Classical/Nimbus Order CD here
2.05.18 Sendesaal, Bremen, Germany; Amaryllis String Quartet, Barbara Buntrock viola
11.07.18 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, France; Quatuor Elmire, Sindy Mohamed viola
Driven with frenetic energy, The Sun was Chasing Venus is through-composed, vividly moving between contrasting sections. Featuring the violas in an expressive dialogue is a slower, hazy episode which gives way to a violin solo with sparse, rhythmic accompaniment. Brisk music returns in a playful, excitable section, before a cadenza-like cello solo.
The piece takes its shape from the concept of ascending, the music always rising. The title, an abstract description of the work, represents the idea of a game of pursuit; musical lines chasing each other, out of which comes a sense of journey.