Mid-Oceaned for Viola and Cello by Charlotte Bray.

This work was first performed on 29 May 2018 at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London by Ralf Ehlers (viola) and Lucas Felt (cello).

Commissioned by The Hepner Foundation, and dedicated to Leo and Regina Hepner.

Programme Notes

The day we awoke to was milk-white, visibility no more than a boat length. We moved slowly with, it seemed, a hidden resistance. The water was not wholly calm. To the naked eye the surface appeared flat but unsettling and unbelievably so. An imperceptible swell gently rocked the boat. Then, as the mist lifted, a boundless horizon with endless shades of blue revealed itself. The temperature began to rise and the moisture sought its escape from the humid air.

Travelling east by sea, on the 18th of April we crossed the international date line. The day was reset. How would it play out for a second time?

Glistening blue, the sun was beating down. Sparks danced as the sunlight caught the shifting waters. Choppy and cold, the ocean was threatening. The boat, as a sabre through a curtain of ruffled silk, cut through the heavy waves. We moved quickly, or so it appeared. The day couldn’t be more contrasting, fast, animated and unpredictable; change was sitting patiently on a diminishing horizon.

- Charlotte Bray

Performance Notes

  • In part I, players should use light bow pressure and vary the intensity depending on the dynamic level: indefinite pitch or overtones are intentional and part of the desired sound.
  • In three places (viola bars 60 and 70; cello bar 11) a harmonic is notated where no stable pitch will result: the resulting tonal alternation is the intended effect.
  • All tremolandi are to be performed by the left hand, on a single string.
  • Play with rubato throughout, flexibly and with fluency, and thus not strictly as notated rhythmically.

Duration: 12 minutes