Bluer than Midnight by Charlotte Bray for Oboe, Violin, Viola, and Cello.

This work was first performed on 3 December 2016 at St Paul’s Episcopal Church, 15 St Paul St, Brookline, MA, by Peggy Pearson (oboe), Gabriela Diaz (violin), Noriko Herndon (viola) and Rafael Popper-Keizer (cello).

Commissioned by Winsor Music.

Programme Notes

The modernist abstract painter Yves Klein writes about his work L’aventure monochrome: ‘Blue has no dimensions. It exists beyond all dimensions, whereas other colours all have a dimension. They are psychological spaces… All colours are associated with concrete, material and tangible ideas, but blue recalls, if anything, the sea and the sky, the most abstract elements of touchable and visible nature.’

The title of the quartet is taken from Ezra Pound’s Canto CX:

"waves under blue paler than heaven

over water bluer than midnight"

Both sources merged to form the inspiration behind Bluer than Midnight, a piece which explores a close connection with nature, its abstraction and simplicity. A slow, intimate first movement reflects this. Intensely quiet, the movement feels timeless with pulse suspended. Melodic and flowing, a duet-based central movement is the most narrative part of the piece. The third movement is alive and buzzing with nervous energy.

© Charlotte Bray

Duration: 12 minutes