score and parts on special sale from the Hire Library
I. Prologue. Sostenuto II. Berceuse. In memoriam Elliott Carter
III. Scherzino. Allegro molto IV. Afterword. Sostenuto
Titles are rarely easy to come by, and I was reluctant to use the conventional but prosaic ‘Piano Trio’ for this work; so when a chance remark to John Adams about the problems of writing piano trios met with the laconic response, ‘Nowhere to hide’, I seized gratefully on his wise words.
John Adams was quite right about one particular aspect of writing for this particular ensemble; but of course there’s also an extremely distinguished body of work already in existence to which it’s advisable not to listen while trying to add to it. When I began work on the trio I had intended it to be in one movement, but the music that has become the first movement took me far longer to write than I had expected, and was certainly not complete in itself. I was thinking of the direction that the rest of the work should take when the news of Elliott Carter’s death in November 2012 made me put the trio aside and write a little Berceuse for piano in his memory.
This unanticipated music became the basis of the second movement, and also influenced the mood of the fourth. The third movement takes over the brief scherzo-like episodes from the rather elaborate structure of the first movement (which is as long as the other three movements combined) to provide a lightning-fast ‘Scherzino’.
Nowhere to Hide lasts around 14 minutes: I am grateful to William Howard for his patience in waiting for it to arrive after asking me nearly 10 years ago if I would write a second work for the Schubert Ensemble, who first commissioned me in 1984.