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About this Piece

This piece is an exploration of joy in its many different forms, from a personal perspective. The act of composing, although often a huge challenge, can occasionally elicit the most intense feeling of joy, and that is something that I wanted to pervade the whole piece. This is contrasted by much darker music, the one often coming out of the other quite unexpectedly.

The piece is cast in three movements, and each takes its starting point from a different poem associated with Joy. The first movement is muted and melancholy in nature, layering long woodwind lines with keening string melodies. Sudden bright outbursts, firstly in brass and percussion and later for full orchestra come more to the foreground, with the movement ending in a blaze of activity.

The second movement is lively and dance-like. Whirling woodwind gestures lead to moments of outpouring, featuring soaring horn lines and rapid runs in strings and woodwind. From this activity, moments of repose emerge; long melodic lines always punctuated by insistent pulsing in celesta and glockenspiel.

The third movement begins with absolute calm, the atmosphere is hazy, a kind of a musical representation of bliss. This is juxtaposed by intense, rapid falling lines in woodwind and pitched percussion. The piece ends with a sort of muted lullaby.

Programme note © 2020 Helen Grime