It is midnight, Dr Schweitzer


string ensemble of 11 players
String Ensemble
6 vln.2 vla.2 vlc.db
Commissioned by the Guildhall String Ensemble with an award from the Holst Foundation
First Performance
29.6.92, St John's Smith Square, London: Guildhall String Ensemble

Score 0-571-51680-7 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

It is Midnight, Dr. Schweitzer There are eleven different fragments in this work for eleven players and each one revolves around on of the eleven intervals between a minor second and a major seventh. Each bit takes its title from one of the constructions of the Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely (1925-1991). They are: 1. Viens, le Gismo 2. The Three Graces 3. L’amour 4. Le chasseur infernal 5. Machine Fleur 6. Il est minuit, Dr. Schweitzer 7. Soleil Noir 8. Der Hund von Garavicchio 9. An Affair of the Heart 10. Si c’est noir je m’appelle Jean 11. Elvira My little musical machines are each between twenty seconds and three minutes long, and symmetry raises its head in the ordering of the parts. Sometimes I found a Tinguely machine I liked and made a piece to go with it, other times the music came first and then the title. So the piece is an oblique response to Tinguely’s work and, I suppose, to his death. I am haunted by Tinguely’s 1959 lecture at the ICA, where, apart from telling the audience to throw away their watches (he thought our notions of time dangerously simple), he said: ‘To attempt to hold fast an instant is doubtful. To bind an emotion is unthinkable. To petrify love is impossible. It is beautiful to be transitory. How lovely it is not to have to live forever.’ 'It is midnight, Dr Schweitzer was commissioned by the Guildhall String Ensemble with an award from the Holst Foundation.

© John Woolrich

Licensing Information

News & Reviews

'It is midnight, Dr Schweitzer' reviews

‘The eleven pieces which make up this collection are all based around the constructions of Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely after which each piece is named. As the whole work only takes twelve minutes some are remarkably brief but poignant ... the score is direct and atmospheric throughout.’ Musical Opinion (Brian Hick), 1 May 1997 Read more

Site Search

Newsletter sign-up

Submit your email address here to receive the latest news and special offers from Faber Music

Score Availability

It is possible in certain circumstances to purchase some scores direct from the Hire Library, even if advertised as available only for hire.

Please Contact the Hire Library:
Tel: +44 (0)1279 828907 / 8

Take a look

Benjamin Britten



read more