Part of work “Pictured Within” written for BBC Prom celebrating the 60th birthday of conductor Martyn Brabbins


May 23, 2019

Gavin’s Notes:

The BBC gave one of the 2019 Prom concerts to conductor Martyn Brabbins for his 60th birthday. Martyn was able to commission a number of composers to write variations on an anonymous theme, in relation to Elgar’s Enigma Variations – which was performed in the same concert. I have know Martyn for many years and was, in fact, responsible for booking him for a concert early in his career when I was in charge of music at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre. Given that I am probably better known for writing relatively slow, long and reflective music, it is a testament to Martyn Brabbins’ sense of humour that he should ask me to write the fastest, shortest and loudest of all the variations in the set. This, of course, is a very partial view of my output and there is in fact quite a lot of energetic music in my output, especially in the operas (one of which Martyn conducted). Nevertheless I reciprocated by making the variation allude to the brief, unchronicled, and perhaps imaginary, meeting between Elgar and Charles Ives.

Gavin Bryars