Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and first performed by the BBC Singers, conducted by Sofi Jeannin, on 19 August 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms 2021
After Sweelinck's Je sens en moy une flamme nouvelle
A New Flame takes as its starting point the Sweelinck motet Je Sens en Moy une Flamme Nouvelle. This music is embedded into nearly every measure, sometimes quite explicitly as a quote, and other times fragmented and obscure. The piece sets Thomas Traherne’s News, which is a poem which describes a beautiful shimmering of objects and ideas just out of view approaching and growing clearer. Initially, the Sweelinck motet and the Traherne coëxist, where the motet will suddenly freeze on a passing, dissonant chord, and we hear Traherne’s words delivered over this texture. Midway through the piece, a more abstract, kinetic material takes over, and the older music recedes into the background, only emerging as a memory at the end.