Intaglio to be performed at West Cork Chamber Music Festival

My fears that taking on a full-time internship in a field entirely unrelated to music – namely human rights – would herald the demise of my musical output seem to have been misplaced, at least for the meantime.

In April, I entered the West Cork Chamber Music Festival Composers’ Bursary, and found out a few weeks ago that I was selected as one of the four winners. Naturally this is excellent news.

As a result of this my new string quartet, Intaglio, will be premiered in Bantry on 1 July 2014.

Intaglio takes its title from the printing technique in which a text or image is incised into a surface and then filled with ink. The work opens with cold static chords, coloured with icy harmonics, which gradually unfold into quickly repeating notes, as if the first note carves out a space which is filled by a stream of subsequent notes.

As the piece progresses, these static chords blossom into wild and florid lines, inscribing a rich expressionistic texture into the fabric of the music, bringing the music from stillness into dense polyphony. As the quartet begins to come together once more, in a series of crashing, incisive chords, this return to homogeneity heralds the end of the work, which fades silently on one final note.

The premiere will be given by the Benz Quartet, with whom I very much look forward to working with.

In the meantime, I’ve been exploring other musical genres with my childhood friend Jack Reid. We’ve been working on a set of songs since October of last year and things are starting to come together nicely now. Our home recording set-up has improved a great deal in the past month and we will hopefully have an EP finished within a month or two, all being well. Will post details and tracks when I have them…