A Lost Place

violin, viola and cello

Duration 15’
Instrumentation violin, viola, cello
First Performance 23 June 2023, Heimbach, Germany; Javier Comesaña (violin), Jan Larsen (viola) and Gustav Rivinius (cello)
Commissioned by the Kunstförderverein Kreis Düren e.V. for the 2023 SPANNUNGEN Chamber Music FesGval at Heimbach RWE Power Plant

Charlotte has a worldwide, exclusive publishing agreement with Birdsong
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Further Performances
22.02.24 Altes Konservatorium Bern; TriOlogie String Trio
21.03.24 Kunstraum Walcheturm Zürich; TriOlogie String Trio

Our thoughts and feelings about the conflict involving Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will depend on which of the many lenses through which we choose to view it. In the west, little attention is paid to the thousands of Yazidis who, as victims of a genocide, were forced from their homes and enslaved or killed. The courage and determination of Nadia Murad, co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 and, internationally, a recognisable voice for the Yazidis and their ongoing struggle to bring to justice those responsible for the violence and horror they experienced – is both striking and inspirational.

Entitled A Lost Place, the piece is dedicated to the Yazidis and explores emotions related to the persecution and terror they endured. Melodies in the first movement are suppressed and nervously expressed; cries ring out, descending glissandi sobs and techniques such as sul ponticello, that produce an eerily haunting tone, are employed.

The second movement responds to a quote from Murad: “It’s a strange hollow feeling. Longing for a lost place makes you feel like you also have disappeared.” With the viola and cello in accompanying roles, the violin leads melodically, singing out, creating unexpectedly delicate moments. The central section is even more evocative, nostalgic, as if recalling home. But, abruptly and increasingly, shrieking sounds pierce through the piece. Darkly, a dry pizzicato section brings us back to a realisation of all that was lost, everything that was familiar, everything that was home.

Heavy and disturbing, the third movement begins in unison. Impassioned, melodic material enters, again principally in the violin, punctuated by jabs and jagged motifs. Progressing, momentum gathers, culminating in concerted punches.

A delicate fourth movement slowly floats high in the spectrum, conveying an “out-of-body” feeling, as if looking down at one’s self from above. The glissandi cries of the first movement return. Pulse is suspended as if the music – representing the body – could float away at any moment.