For Wigmore Hall Lockdown Commissions 2020:
Please note: due to COVID-19, the premiere of these songs was cancelled, so I have included a clarinet version produced digitally. I hope that you can understand.
I have chosen to submit just the first song, 'November', for this application, as I believe it contrasts well to other work, 'A Moment'. I have included the full score with the other 2 songs, just in case you wished to peruse.
I was inspired by these texts to write three very contrasting songs; rather than mimicking nature’s soft-edged transitions from month to month, I chose to ‘visit’ every other poem over the course of half a year.
The result is a series of short evocations. The music fleets from scene to scene, capturing the curious contour of the poet’s original text, like a rolling tapestry.
The extended introductions of Ionawr and Mawrth could represent ‘time passing’, whilst the fanfare statement at the head of Tachwedd is almost a cosmic big-bang; the release of pent-up energy that begins the mechanical 'cranking' of the seasons.
November! Swine become greatly fat
Shepherds fro and minstrels come,
Butchers' blades are bloody, and the barns full;
The sea is joyous, and marrowy the contents of every cauldron;
Long are the nights to prisoners of lively dispositions,
All who have treasures are respected;
Three men who are not often satisfied
Are the sorrowful, the angry, and the miserly.
This set of three songs, Tachwedd - Ionawr - Mawrth (November - January - March), tracks the panoramic shift from low-light early-Winter to the first whispers of Spring.
Tachwedd has an unrelenting moto-perpetuo momentum; the inevitable force of nature ploughs onward as shepherds flee and minstrels flock. The dark nights draw longer... the ocean bursts and boils...
Ionawr arrives with the din of tolling bells; the bards travel from afar to feast and feud. The first shards of slender new-year sun dance through the clouds.
Mawrth: a chirruping audacity ignites in spite of the sharp ice-wind. The homely hum of Spring rings out as nature wakes from Winter’s slumber.