• piano
  • 4 min

Programme Note

When the wind blows was written for Catherine Laws, and first performed by her at Peninsula Arts, Plymouth, 18th March 2009.

I dedicate this piece to my son, Magnus Yarra; I wrote it during our first months in Berlin. When the wind blows is a cut-up of the first movement of Webern’s Variations, op. 27 (1936).

There was the question for me as composer of which interpretation of the Webern variations to use as a basis for this idiosyncratic re-writing, and for the performer there will be the question of how to align the sense of authentic quotation of Webern with the fact that the authenticity is so heavily and obviously undermined. Obviously, this piece is not for those who look for definitive solutions – rather, it’s a dynamic traffic between two historical moments, two composers, two genders, two different kinds of sonic material, etc. Perhaps all the many ways of playing and hearing Webern’s piano variations (as well as Webern’s general influence on new piano repertoire in the intervening decades) echo through this piece.