Ich habe meine Lampe ausgeblasen, und tausend Gedanken erheben sich von meines Herzensgrund.
Meine Augen strömen über von Tränen.
Paul Klee (1916)
High and radiant is the moon.
I blew out my lamp, and thousands of thoughts rise up from the bottom of my heart.
My eyes overflow with tears
Paul Klee created a text-painting using these words a hundred years ago, the year he was conscripted into, though never fought for, the German army. I saw this painting just days after the UK voted to leave the European Union. I was touched by it’s simple, fragile vulnerability made at a deeply fractured time.
The circling, persistent viola solo, with which the quartet begins, is repeated, chopped up, magnified, distorted and stretched out. This treatment of musical material is similar to my manipulation of text in recent works. It has a lot to do with memories - how sometimes a vividly experienced dream can suddenly vanish upon waking and all you can grasp hold of are fragments. And how these fragments often linger but finally fade away.
Performances: Arditti Quartet Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, Witten, Germany 2012 (premiere)
Everything changes it is extraordinary how everything does change.
Getrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography
everything does change is a re-working and extension of a piece I wrote for a film – Klatov - by the Czech artist Pavla Scerankova. After the death of her grandfather, Pavla unearthed reams of Standard-8 footage that he had taken of his family, friends and surroundings. With the digitised versions, she created an homage to the joyful beauty of a place and people she knew, but never experienced first hand. The music is my response to the everyday happiness that the film captures and to these forgotten memories.
Performances: Trio Magritte Milan, Italy, 2012
London Sinfonietta London, UK 2019
2011 | 5’
for viola and cello
Note: this version is WITH film
Everything changes was written for the short film - Klatov - by Czech artist Pavla Scerankova and was premiered by Ensemble Amorpha at the British Film Institute, London in December 2011
The subtitle could easily be luminis (‘a light, an opening’), lucere (‘shine’) or lux (‘light’).
Whilst I was composing I often thought about this image of light: an intense light source and, further away, a light that was much softer and paler. That is what the piece gradually became about – a set of three slow, luminous but fragile variations around a fiery core.
Performances: Quatuor Diotima Centre Acanthes, Metz, France, 2010 (Workshop)
Exploring the resonance of intense musical gestures, this piece is a discovery of the ensemble’s inner sonorities. As the drama of the work slowly unfolds, these gestures are progressively transformed.
Performances: Les Percussion de Strasbourg, Françoise Rivalland (cimablom) & Pascal Contet (accordion) at Abbaye d’Royaumont (France), 2006