orchestral winds, percussion and basses

Duration 6’
Instrumentation 3(I=picc).3 (III=Ca).2.2 – – perc(1) – basses (3)
First Performance 3 October 2022; Dresdner Sinfoniker, conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer
Commissioned by Dresdner Sinfoniker on the occasion of German reunification
Charlotte has a worldwide, exclusive publishing agreement with Birdsong
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In a long history, the joining of East and West Germany in 1990, is a monumental moment. “Reunification stands for hope even under the most adverse conditions” said Horst Köhler (president of Germany, 2004-2010). Adding, “… the unthinkable can happen”, this incredible achievement, notwithstanding the troubling times currently afflicting our world, should be widely celebrated. 

As a contribution to the occasion, however small, I wanted to reflect these feelings in this new work, Landmark. That formidable, fearsome and divisive wall has fallen, hammered and chipped away – physically and metaphorically. Sadly, as German society coalesces and consolidates steadily, an underlying sadness, engendered by increasing division and alienation, besets our world. 

The opening section is constructed in ranked walls of terrifying chords, with sparky and agitated motifs in the woodwind sitting between these discordant blocks. An urgent, nervous section ensues- hammering down the wall, energetic and tightly bound. Continually transforming rhythmically, this section gives way to the ‘wall’ chords, remnants of their predecessors. The spiky, fanfare-like motifs remain; sharp reminders of what once stood as a barrier. A single pitch, heard on the oboe, leads sonorously into the closing section. In this, the chilling and disturbing reality of our present geopolitical situation is reflected soberly in a hushed and troubled ending, posing the question, “What have we learned?”. Here, the music disintegrates, descending into smaller and smaller instrumental groups.