ECM 1424 (New Series)
LP and CD
Gavin Bryars Ensemble. Plus Bill Frisell, members of the Balanescu Quartet, and saxophone quartet (Evan Parker, Stan Sulzmann, Ray Warleigh, Julian Argüelles)
After the Requiem (1990)
I had written the Cadman Requiem in 1989 for the Hilliard Ensemble in memory of my friend and sound engineer Bill Cadman, who was killed in the Lockerbie air crash. His death affected me very deeply and, pending a recording of this piece, Manfred Eicher asked if I might like to develop an instrumental work from this, using the same instrumentation for accompaniment and retaining the same opening bars as part of a new ECM album. The piece is “after” the Requiem therefore in the musical sense of being based on it, in the chronological sense of following on from it, and in the spiritual sense of representing that state which remains after mourning is (technically) over. I wrote the piece in Venice in September 1990 and finished it in Oslo on the day of the recording, where I added the electric guitar of Bill Frisell. This, I felt, blended particularly well with low strings (originally 2 violas and cello; in live performance sometimes viola, cello and bass). Coincidentally, having used certain distortion effects on the guitar, we found that we were recording on the twentieth anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix. Within the music I use one or two modified extracts from the Cadman Requiem itself, and from its common source Invention of Tradition, for which Bill Cadman had done the sound design.
The piece is dedicated to the two Bills (Cadman and Frisell).
The Old Tower of Löbenicht
(1986, rev. 1994 )
The original ensemble version of this piece was first performed at the Almeida Festival in 1986 (and later recorded for ECM Records) and is a sketch for an instrumental interlude in a projected opera based on Thomas De Quincey’s The Last Days of Immanuel Kant. It occurs at a point in the opera where Kant is disturbed at the way in which growing poplar trees have obscured the view of a distant tower which “he could not be said properly to see.. but (which) rested upon his eye as distant music on the ear – obscurely, or but half revealed to the consciousness”. The owner of the trees, learning of Kant’s distress, has them cropped.
This interlude, which is broadly symmetrical, represents in effect the two different states of Kant’s response to his perceptions of the old tower.
Since making this first version I have revised the piece in two ways. Firstly I have re-written the solo part for my cellist, Sophie Harris. Secondly I have added a short prelude, based on John Coltrane’s “After the Rain”. The concert we were to have given in a beautiful outdoor courtyard in Ferrara was cancelled when a violent storm broke out just as we were about to play. This prelude (“Doppo la Pioggia”) was written the next morning to open the postponed performance.
Gavin Bryars Ensemble
2. Old Tower Of Löbenicht
3. Alaric I Or II