Materiali Sonore MASO CD 90108
The North Shore (1993)
This piece, originally for viola and piano, was written for Bill Hawkes and Nic Hodges to play at the opening of an exhibition of the work of James Hugonin* in Edinburgh. It has been subsequently expanded both in duration and instrumentation to give the present work for solo viola, strings and harp (or piano).
Through working with Bill Hawkes, and earlier with Alexander Balanescu, I have become more and more interested in the viola both in ensemble and as a solo instrument. Indeed I was originally to write a work for voice and viola for the exhibition but due to the unavailability of the singer I wrote this instrumental piece instead, retaining nevertheless the original intention of connecting the piece with a specific geographical region. I particularly like the relationship between the abstraction of Hugonin’s paintings and the location where they are painted – the North East of England.
Having already written a number of vocal pieces that use Northumbrian texts (by Caedmon) I decided however to move a little further down the coast, to Whitby where I had spent summers as a child and particularly to the cliffs by St Hilda’s Abbey. The North Shore, therefore, takes this austere location as its inspiration – the same as the descriptive narrative used for the vocal piece I subsequently wrote based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula (From Mina Harker’s Journal). It represents a kind of response to the “Idea of North” found in the work of Glenn Gould, as well as a reflection on the obsession of Jules Verne’s Captain Hatteras who, in his final madness, would walk only towards the north.
The piece is dedicated to Debbie Mason.
* See Gavin Bryars’ article about James Hugonin
This piece, for clarinet, cello and piano, was commissioned by the Italian group Harmonia and was written immediately after I finished writing the opera Doctor Ox’s Experiment. The piece is extremely quiet throughout, going down to pppp at times and the tempo drops at one point a metronome marking of 30. It starts with an extended passage in unison and evolves into a kind of duet with passages modelled on the lieder of Hugo Wolf. It was written for a recording which would feature works of mine: The North Shore in the version for cello and piano, Allegrasco in the early version for clarinet and piano. Intermezzo, therefore, was designed to bring all three players together for the final piece of the album.
It is dedicated to Harmonia.
Orio Odori (clarinet)
Giampiero Bigazzi (piano)