It is midnight, Dr Schweitzer

(1992)

by John Woolrich

Description
string ensemble of 11 players
Duration
12
Genres
String Ensemble
Instrumentation
6 vln.2 vla.2 vlc.db
Commission
Commissioned by the Guildhall String Ensemble with an award from the Holst Foundation
First Performance
29.6.92, St John's Smith Square, London: Guildhall String Ensemble
Availability

Score 0-571-51680-7 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
John Woolrich It is Midnight, Dr. Schweitzer There are eleven different fragments in this work for eleven players and each one revolves around on of the eleven intervals between a minor second and a major seventh. Each bit takes its title from one of the constructions of the Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely (1925-1991). They are: 1. Viens, le Gismo 2. The Three Graces 3. L’amour 4. Le chasseur infernal 5. Machine Fleur 6. Il est minuit, Dr. Schweitzer 7. Soleil Noir 8. Der Hund von Garavicchio 9. An Affair of the Heart 10. Si c’est noir je m’appelle Jean 11. Elvira My little musical machines are each between twenty seconds and three minutes long, and symmetry raises its head in the ordering of the parts. Sometimes I found a Tinguely machine I liked and made a piece to go with it, other times the music came first and then the title. So the piece is an oblique response to Tinguely’s work and, I suppose, to his death. I am haunted by Tinguely’s 1959 lecture at the ICA, where, apart from telling the audience to throw away their watches (he thought our notions of time dangerously simple), he said: ‘To attempt to hold fast an instant is doubtful. To bind an emotion is unthinkable. To petrify love is impossible. It is beautiful to be transitory. How lovely it is not to have to live forever.’ 'It is midnight, Dr Schweitzer was commissioned by the Guildhall String Ensemble with an award from the Holst Foundation. John Woolrich

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News & Reviews

'It is midnight, Dr Schweitzer' reviews

‘The eleven pieces which make up this collection are all based around the constructions of Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely after which each piece is named. As the whole work only takes twelve minutes some are remarkably brief but poignant ... the score is direct and atmospheric throughout.’ Musical Opinion (Brian Hick), 1 May 1997 Read more

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