• Emily Howard
  • Mesmerism (2011)
    (for piano and chamber orchestra)

  • Peters Edition Limited (World)

Commissioned by Liverpool Mozart Orchestra in its Diamond Jubilee Year with support fromthe PRS for Music Foundation.

Winner of the Making Music British (now Ivor Novello) Composer Award 2012

  • pf + 2[II:pic].2[II:ca].2.2/
  • Piano
  • 18 min

Programme Note

Mesmerism (2011), for piano and chamber orchestra, explores the idea of a mesmeric relationship between soloist and orchestra. One continuous movement, Mesmerism unfolds over 18 minutes with piano ‘mesmerising’ orchestra through contrasting soundscapes – explosive and still. Ultimately a sense of calm is restored; virtuosity in a traditional sense is inverted.

The work is inspired by mathematician Ada Lovelace who dabbled with mesmerism, a forerunner of hypnosis developed by physician Franz Mesmer. It reflects my ongoing fascination with the intersections of science, history, and music, and is part of a larger series of my works inspired by Lovelace and her multidisciplinary interests. These include vocal works Ada sketches and But then, what are these numbers? and orchestral work Calculus of the Nervous System.

Emily Howard, 2023