A4 facsimile score 0571554695 (fp) on sale, parts for hire
23 Frames was composed in 1994 as a gift for Amelia Freedman and the Nash Ensemble. 23 is a favourite prime number of mine, and the ‘frames’ all incorporate a reference – sometimes recognisable but more often not – to existing pieces of music in every one of the 24 major and minor keys except one, which runs throughout as a connecting thread. Each ‘frame’ lasts around 30 seconds, but the musical argument nearly always cuts across the division into frames, with an overall shape of fast – slow – fast. Every possible combination of the four instruments is used – horn, viola, cello and piano – but the choice of combination as well as the sequence of frames is random (my daughter picked the sequence out of a hat!).
An eccentric way to work, certainly, but there is no need to know the details: I wanted to compose a piece which, while tightly controlled, felt rather like an improvisation. As I wrote at the time (now nearly 30 years ago) I was keen to write ‘something both exuberant and zany’.
The Independent (Nicholas Williams), 11 March 1995