Availability

Score and parts on special sale from the Hire Library

Programme Notes

On page 10 of the Goya sketchbook generally known as the Witches and Old Women album, there is an image captioned by a single word: ‘Visiones’. An elderly couple dance, apparently suspended midair in an awkward embrace: his attention seems elsewhere; she may be picking his pocket. The pen-strokes are few, and the ink and wash technique makes the image seem as though momentarily conjured out of smoke. But without a doubt they are dancing, this strange couple, ready to step off the page, so alive is the penmanship. Peeking out from behind a fold of the lady’s skirt or the man’s cloak is a grinning face, all sunken eyes and wrinkled skin, laughing at … what? The dancers, the viewer, the world? As I drew together materials for this clarinet trio, Goya’s vision haunted my dreams. It’s not the piece but it drew the piece into its orbit: three odd characters, bound together in dance. There is a kind of beauty there, I think, and elegance, and poise, and some sweet melancholy. But also obsession and violence and no way out. As I shaped the piece, these ideas shaped my thinking. There are three sections: #1: Cello and clarinet circle each other in repeated microtonal lyrics, while the piano, completely separate, taps out ecstatic pirouettes in the extreme upper register. #2: A fragment of the lyric figure becomes something approaching a lullaby; the three instruments combine to create a single expanding harmonic texture, which, increasingly mechanical, gets stuck in irregular loops. The process repeats. Then repeats again. #3: A distorted memory of what has gone before. The piano is now the melodic lead; the cello a crazed, fragmentary virtuoso, unable to find a ‘pure’ tone; the clarinet restricted to a simple pattern of soft multiphonics. The spinning dance intrudes, then overwhelms. MS

Visiones

Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York (York, United Kingdom)

Chimera Ensemble

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Visiones

Moto Perpetuo only for C Matthews

Tenri Cultural Institute (New York City, NY, USA)

Lost Dog New Music Ensemble, Sarah Moyer, Silas Huff

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Visiones

Riverside Church (New York City, NY, USA)

The Locrian Chamber Players

Visiones

Cecil Sharp House (London, United Kingdom)

Dark Inventions

Visiones

Recital Room, Leeds College of Music (Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom)

Dark Inventions