Fire Burning in Snow for Mezzo Soprano, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello by Charlotte Bray.
Commissioned by BCMG Sound Investment supported by individual donors in memory of Jack Phipps and first performed on 18 June 2013 at the Aldeburgh Festival by Lucy Schaufer (mezzo-soprano) and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
Fire Burning in Snow sets three poems by Nicki Jackowska: Moonshot, Loose Ends, and Occupations; it is a collection portraying lost love and a search for a way forward from this 'place’.
Moonshot craves for closeness, reaching out for the lost love, frozen and immersed in his absence. Peeling away the layers of personality that gave her form, defined her, she dances alone in a light that she hopes will summon him, singing for comfort. In her solitude, in the quiet of this haunting lament – the darkest part of the collection – a deep emptiness is felt. Disturbed, raw emotions that are never fully comprehended, mysteries that persist, provide openings for other journeys.
Delivered from a male perspective, Loose Ends is grounded and present. Emerging from an emotional landscape shaped by painful loss, newly found freedom, promise (a dream) of future happiness, the character feels indestructible until he loses control, falls back to the dense earth with a thud and realisation that his attempts to bury the memories of his lost love are superficial and futile.
A rich presence is felt throughout Occupations. A love dovetailed into hers – internal, whist still being free; constantly thrown back to recall what has been lost, until eventually, it escapes, once accepted, perhaps. Ultimately, some form of resolution is found. A rich palette and threaded sensory references allow one to see, hear, smell, and feel the poems; they are virtually tangible, leaping off the page with a clear and colourful voice. (© Charlotte Bray)
Duration: 11 minutes