Instrumentation

2 picc(both=fl).1.ca(=ob).2.2 - 2.ptpt.1.0.0 - perc(1): 3 susp.cym/2 tgl/SD - strings (66442)

Availability

Score 0571511627 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

A Mind of Winter is a setting of ‘The Snow Man’ by the American poet Wallace Stevens. A contemporary of Eliot and Pound, he lived most of his life in New England, and it is only in recent years that his true stature as a poet has been widely acclaimed. Two things immediately appealed to me about ‘The Snow Man’ - the abundance of beautiful winter imagery within its compact frame, and the deep ambiguity of its meaning. In this setting, the frozen, snow-covered terrain is depicted by an immobile four-part A minor chord on muted strings; suspended cymbals and multidivided string glissandi portray icy gusts of wind. Various individual aspects of the scene are suggested by other instruments - a solo oboe, woodwind in groups of two or three players, two lyrical horns. At the centre of the landscape stands the solitary Snow Man – a muted piccolo trumpet - around whom the soprano weaves slow, angular phrases whilst beholding ‘Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is’.

© George Benjamin

A Mind of Winter

Boulez Saal (Berlin, Germany)

Finnegan Downie Dear, Berlin Staatskapelle, Sarah Aristidou