Ensemble (6+ players)
(were the ruins still there)
2023 | 12’
Commissioned by ACHT BRÜCKEN / Musik für Köln and the Podium Gegenwart of the German Music Council for the European Workshop of Contemporary Music
fl, a. fl, 2cl (1=b.cl), 2tpt, perc, 2vn, 2va, 2vc, db
The signs of erosion and weathering in our inner and outer landscapes speak of our forgetting
and of an absence.
The holes, the spaces that take hold in our memories.
“…was the ruin still there where you hid as a child…”
Samuel Beckett That Time
First performed by the European Workshop of Contemporary Music, conducted by Rüdiger Bohn at ACHT BRÜCKEN festival in Köln, 30. April 2023.
The field is woven
2018 | 13’
Commissioned by BBC Scottish
Symphony Orchestra with funding
from the PRS Composers’ Fund
2fl (1=picc, 2=a.fl), 2cl (2=b.cl), bsn, c.bsn - 2hn, 2tpt, tbn, b.tbn - 2perc - strings
In a 1963 review of Agnes Martin’s recent paintings, Donald Judd wrote:
the horizontal lines go through, but the irregular vertical gaps between the rows of dashes are dominant. The field is woven.
Embedded in the meaning of woven and weaving is a sense of movement in and out, and repeatedly from side to side. The field is woven explores the delicately shifting dynamics of intimacy and space within the orchestra.
Performances: - BBCSSO & Ilan Volkov (cond.) at Tectonics, Glasgow 2018 (premiere)
- Stavanger Symfoniorkester & Ilan Volkov (cond.) at Only Connect, Stavanger, Norway 2019
- Orchestre Philharmonique Luxembourg & Ilan Volkov (cond. )at Rainy Days Festival, Luxembourg 2019
- WDR Sinfonieorchester & Manuel Nawri (cond.) at Funkhaus Köln, Germany 2022
- HfM Saar Orchester & Manuel Nawri (cond.), 2022
2017 | 5’
Commissioned by the Crash Ensemble
with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland
fl, cl, perc, vln, vla, vc, db
my way is in the sand flowing
between the shingle and the dune…
Between was written for the Crash Ensemble’s 20th anniversary project, CrashLands. It was first performed at a former prison on Spike Island, just off the coast of Cork.
Performances: Crash Ensemble Safe Harbour Festival, Cork, Ireland 2017 (premiere)
Metapraxis London, UK 2019
2014 | 14’
Commissioned by Kate Halsall with funding
from the RVW Trust
for two pianos and ensemble
2pf - 220.127.116.11. - 1.1.(= flugelhorn)1.0. - 3perc - 18.104.22.168.1.
NB. there is also a version for two pianos and one perc
always – ealne weg – all the way, the whole way
again – back to a starting point
The relentless aggressiveness of the two hocketting pianos is initially given scant respite from the obsessive repetitions. An impetus for change comes once the ensemble joins in, thinning out the dense chords in the piano, and allowing the music to finally go elsewhere other than back again.
Performances: Kate Halsall & Fumiko Miyachi (pianos), Chimera Ensemble & James Whittle (cond.)
hcmf//, Huddersfield, UK 2014
CD: a recording of the version for two pianos and percussion is available on Miniaturised Concertos
2007 | 8’
Commissioned by Heidelberger Frühling Festival
cl, hn, perc, pf, vn, vla, vc, db
“ukuðr” (Old Norse) is one of the many origins of the word “uncouth”. I have recently completed a work which takes a glimpse into the idea of nostalgia and it’s meaning. ukuðr is a continuation of this idea and the pieces I am writing at present will form some kind of meta-piece, as part of an ongoing project.
Uncouth and nostalgia are not as remote as ideas and words as they at first appear. Inherent in the meaning of nostalgia (from the Greek words “nostos” meaning return and “algos” meaning pain) is a sense of not knowing, of some kind of ignorance. Although the present day meaning (since the 16th century) of uncouth is an act that is or someone who is strange, clumsy or rude, the word actually derives from “cunnan” – to know. Therefore uncouth once meant not known or unknown. I like the idea of these two seemingly disparate meanings coming together in one word.
The structural idea is both clear and unclear – I mean this both in the sense of my approach to it and the outcome. My usual approach is to have a very fixed structural plan and I wanted to invite a wildness into not just the instrumental sounds but the whole work. The first section is a slab of aggressive sound – the musical direction from the top is “raw, rough, punk”. The ensemble is divided into three groups and each group has its own persistent idea and sound. I treat this first section as a found object to which I then literally take scissors. The slices, snapshots and fragments then remaining are re-ordered in a slightly incoherent way – fragments of memories from the opening all jumbled up.
Performances: Heidelberger Frühling Festival, Germany 2007 (premiere)
Kammerensemble Neue Musik, Berlin, Germany 2012 & Villeneuve d’Avignon, France 2013
2003 | 6’
fl, ob, cl, hp, pf, vn, vc
Performances: London Sinfonietta, London, UK 2003 (premiere)
Ensemble Linea & Philippe Wurtz (cond.), Festival Musica, Strasbourg, France 2007