• Jonathan Harvey
  • Inner Light 1 (1973)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Francis Routh for the 10th anniversary season of the Redcliffe Concerts, with funds from the Arts Council

Study score available to buy

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  • 30 min

Programme Note

For seven players and tape

This work was composed in the summer of 1973 during a prolonged and peaceful stay in Menorca. At the beginning there is only indistinct sound; it becomes more timbrally focussed (indistinct cello sounds), and then birth is given to a pitch-cum-timbre - C on the cello. This is the first note of the basic set, and three more notes are immediately 'born' in similar fashion. Then each of these four pitches-cum-timbres gives birth (midwifed by a tape transformation) to a musical space, or harmonic spectrum, comprised of the interval(s) between the note and its neighbour(s). The instruments concerned with each note then proceed to play in the tempo associated with their note (there are twelve different tempi) new sets exploiting their neighbouring interval(s) in spaces comprised of this interval. Thus, through the sequence NOISE - TIMBRE - MUSICAL SPACE/PITCH ARGUMENT, the basic set of twelve pitches has its exposition.

The basic set having been born, it is then developed in the second (middle) section. Since only this set is used, only the basic tempo is used (there are small exceptions in both dimensions). The tempo is fast and metrical, the register is high, and there are no tape transformations.

The third and final section starts to arrange the twelve note set into a firm partitioning (4 + 3 + 5), introducing new sets to multiply each of these segments. Meanwhile different types of transformation are performed and the sequence NOISE - TIMBRE - SPACE is permutated. Eventually the final shape is crystallised - a low, 'dark' tetrachord, a high, light, trichord, and a mediating pentachord - three chords reflecting the overall shape of the piece. The goal having been reached, a 'narrative' coda based on these chords follows, forming a sort of 'moral' at the end of the story.

Inner Light (1) was commissioned by Francis Routh for the 10th Anniversary season of the Redcliffe Concerts with funds from the Arts Council of Great Britain. It is dedicated to Benjamin Britten on the occasion of his 60th birthday. The tape was realised at the studios of Swedish Radio, Stockholm, and University College, Cardiff.

© 1973 Jonathan Harvey