Instrumentation 1(=picc).0.1(=bcl).1(cb)-126.96.36.199-perc(2):I=crot/vib; II=mar/susp cym-hp-pft-vln.vla.vlc.db)
First Performance 16 May 2018, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London; Peter Rundel, London Sinfonietta
Commissioned by London Sinfonietta for Florence and Isabella Sweeney
08.03.19 Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, Royal College of Music, London; RCM New Perspectives, Timothy Lines conductor
19.09.19 Enescu Festival, Radio Hall, Bucharest, Romania; Britten Sinfonia, Andrew Gourlay conductor
New-born twins- innocent, curious and fragile are the incipient inspiration for the work. The sound sphere mimics the new world and experiences life presents in breath, scent, movement, sensation, etc.
It is a dance or game for two, often accompanied by the ensemble delicately colouring or adding subtle resonance to the soloists. Eight pairs, created from the fourteen instruments (doubling instruments featuring in two groupings) pass segments of sound from one to the next, at times, overlapping or interacting.
Essentially, the work was created in two large sections: the first emitting energy while the second gradually unfolds the music, fragmenting and developing earlier melodies and motifs that reappear like memories. Smaller sections lie within the whole.
The introduction is succeeded by expressive melodic material that floats amidst accented groups and sustained lines. In turn, this is followed by tremolo moving clusters in the violin and viola before bowed crotales, together with piccolo, form a slow and very quietly-resonating section. High, closely chromatic sounds are interlinked, almost to a singularity. This gives way to a lively rhythmic feature for piano and double bass, passing for a time to cello and bass clarinet. Contrabassoon with harp then grasp their moment, unfolding into a development section. Finally, joined by more of the ensemble, the high crotales and piccolo material returns.
Overall, the piece is sparsely written, with an intense focus on the colour of each individual instrument alongside its paired-partner. Silence and the space between notes, allowing sounds to speak and resonate, are vitally important.