Winter Journey


by David Matthews

solo violin

Commissioned by Lorraine McAslan

First Performance
3.7.83, Purcell Room, London: Lorraine McAslan

B3 score 0-571-55278-1 (fp) on sale

Programme Notes
Winter Journey was composed in November and December 1982. At the time I wrote it, I was (not to get excessively autobiographical) in a state where I identified rather closely with the protagonist of Schubert's Winterreise. It seemed appropriate to base my piece on two quotations from Schubert's great song cycle: the first song, 'Gute Nacht', in which the lover says farewell to his beloved, and the seventeenth, 'Im Dorfe', about the falseness of dreams, which he spurns. These two quotations preface my score, and may or may not be played, as the performer wishes. The title of my piece is of course a translation of Winterreise. Both Schubert quotations are in D major, and Winter Journey is also grounded in D, mostly D minor, but a pure D major emerges near the end, corresponding to the magical change from D minor to D major in 'Gute Nacht'. The piece is a single movement in eleven sections. The first, marked freely: quasi fantasia, is introductory, and presents much of the material of the piece in fragmentary form. In some of the middle sections I had the sound of another D minor/major masterpiece, Bach's Chaconne for solo violin, in mind. The last D major section is written almost entirely in natural harmonics, and based very closely on the phrase from 'Gute Nacht'. The ending vacillates between major and minor, finally choosing the ambiguity of a major second chord on D and E, thus ending on the same notes as it had begun. DM

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