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For a Quiet Night and a Perfect End

This piece was written as the introit to a compline service at Merton College Chapel, Oxford. Several of the concepts behind For a Quiet Night and a Perfect End are thus informed by the performance context, not least the idea that this composition would form part of that day’s preparation for a night’s rest. I was particularly interested in exploring the relationship between reality and dreams, and how the material of dreams is often directly based on real events. Consequently, a preoccupation with notions of identity and their blurring is a more general discourse to which this work is related.

For a Quiet Night and a Perfect End privileges register as one of the crucial structural parameters of the music. Indeed, this may be seen as a route into contextualising the narrative significance of the scordatura element. It is perhaps less surprising then that the moment of realisation of the violin’s scordatura identity in terms of pitch also forms the piece’s apex. Hereafter, registral contrasts come to the fore as the violin is continuously detuned. Just as dreams seem to diverge exponentially from what is possible in reality over the course of their unfolding, this composition attempts to draw the listener increasingly further away from their sonic preconception of the violin.

You may also be interested in Rituals and Resonances.

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: Solo violin (scordatura: F#3-G3-D4-E3

Duration: 8' (variable duration)

Commissioned by: Merton College, Oxford University

Premiered by: William Newell at Merton Passiontide in March 2017

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