one day in retrospect

for Ruby Barber, Ella Dorothea Delbrück, and Mila Ferramosca

for oboe / cor anglais, trumpet in B♭, violin, voice notes

20225 mins

Watch the premiere here

This work was composed specifically for Mila, Dorothea, and Ruby. It is about suffering and healing – finding a new calm from strife. On Dorothea's suggestion I was drawn to paintings of the sea by JMW Turner and Caspar David Friedrich, which you can see in the score.

The frozen deeps may break their iron bands,
And bid their waters murmur o’er the sands.Phillis Wheatley: On Imagination

The first creative impulses I had was actually words, quotations that popped into my head as I went about my day. These became girders for me to structure the music. They will also find their way into the composition as a “quotation thought–stream”: voice notes from several collaborators, which I use to play with sounds and layers.

Thy mind is ever moving
In regions dark to thee;Emily Brontë: Shall earth no more inspire thee

Instead of writing in bars, I've written more loosely like turbulent waves. The players begin together, then play mostly in their own time, cueing each-other where necessary.

One day in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautifulSigmund Freud, in Letters of Sigmund Freud,p. 258

Backdrop image: JMW Turner, Margate from the Sea