Commissioned by Patricia Mirrlees, for Sir James Mirrlees, Scottish Economist and Nobel Laureate, in the centenary year of the Nobel Prizes

  • clarinet, piano, violin, cello
  • 8 min

Programme Note

This short work establishes a roundabout Cambridge connection by being based on a line – a sometimes disjunct scale from a String Quartet I wrote in 1961 dedicated to Alexander Goehr, who subsequently became Cambridge’s Professor of Music.

A fast, rhythmic opening, in which the violin and cello answer short statements by the piano with the clarinet eventually mediating between them, gives way to a longer isometric section, where a slow ‘tenuto’ line, moving between the instruments, is decorated by rhythmic and melodic flourishes on the clarinet, violin and ‘cello, and by more harmonically filled-out ones on the piano. A gradual quickening of pace and an increase of activity lead to a varied and more gentle version of the opening. The slow, quiet final bars crystallise the B major harmonies implicit from the outset.


Sample Pages