• Simon Holt
  • Sparrow Night (1989)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Nash Ensemble

  • 1(pic).0.1(Ebcl,bcl)0/1000/hp.pf/str(
  • oboe
  • 17 min

Programme Note

Sparrow Night is composed for a mixed chamber ensemble of ten players with an important solo part for the oboist Gareth Hulse, whose playing I have long admired. The title stems from a Chekov story cited by Raymond Carver in his final book of poetry, A new path to the waterfall, in which terrible nights with thunder, rain and wind are called by some people 'sparrow nights'. Chekov goes on to describe one such night in his hero's life where his sleep is disturbed after midnight. Feeling himself oppressed with a terror, 'as though I had suddenly seen a vast menacing glow of fire', he hurries to the window to find that the weather is magnificent and cloudless, with a serene very bright moon, and perfect stillness. His spine however, is cold 'as though death were coming upon me stealthily from behind'.

© Simon Holt


Sparrow Night


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