Score and parts on special sale from the Hire Library
Co-commissioned by the Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh and Verbier Festivals, Sguardo verso l’interno runs in four movements, played without a break. The first movement presents the work’s main material, a passacaglia theme defined by both rhythmic and melodic profile. The second movement, suddenly slow and quiet, is a kind of canon, while the third and fourth movements resume the passacaglia, the fourth additionally superimposing a haze of string harmonics.
A ‘look towards the inside’: the title, quoting a phrase from the diary of Egon Schiele, might appear to promise quiet introspection, but the music seems to have other ideas – unless we hear the second movement as the still centre of consciousness, approached and quitted via the more bodily exertions of the first and third before their sublation in the quiet/loud simultaneities of the fourth. A different interpretation, one perhaps taking more account of how from the outset the temperature is high, the dynamics exaggerated, the rhythms almost ostentatiously precise, could hear meaning in this music being produced as a hyper-real surface effect, riding on its expressive excesses and strange angles of juxtaposition, rather than carried along by the music’s usually hectic activity. Coll has said that for him, ‘ruins are not the end of something, but a wonderful starting-point’, and that in looking at ruins ‘I am more interested in the idea of material than the idea of time’. Presenting from its very opening bars material whose advanced state of evolution seems to be a fait accompli rather than a process in motion, this is chamber music for the end of an epoch, conjuring an extraordinary vividness in dilapidation.
© 2011 John Fallas