Off the Rails & All at Sea

for solo piano
2006 / 2012
Duration 9’
Instrumentation piano
First Performances:
Off the Rails 14 July 2006, Cheltenham Ladies College, Cheltenham, England; Nicola Eimer
All at Sea 7 January 2013, Purcell Room, London; Joseph Houston
Commissioned by:
Off the Rails: Nicola Eimer for the Cheltenham International Music Festival 2006
All at Sea: the Park Lane Group for Joseph Houston to perform in their New Year Young Artist Series 2013

Further Performances
1.4.08 National Portrait Gallery, London, Adam Sherkin
2.6.13 Platform33 Kings Place, London, Joseph Houston

Buy/Preview Score

Premiered at the Cheltenham International Music Festival 2006 by Nicola Eimer, Off the Rails describes an oasis of tranquillity amid a harsh, explosive landscape. These two contrasting moods are constantly interspersed until each begins to take on characteristics of the other as the piece gravitates towards its inevitable climax.

In contrast, All at Sea is perfectly still and shimmering, the surface movement of the music disguising its static nature. Through direct and subtly varied repetition the composer constantly disorientates the listener: we think we have arrived somewhere new, but quickly realise that we are hearing the same music, minutely altered. The music is a paradox: the listener is confronted with familiarity and the unknown simultaneously, resulting in an unsettling, circling journey.