Eyebright

YEAR: 2019

 

DURATION: 7′

 

INSTRUMENTATION: 7 vn. 2 vla. 2 vc. db

 

SELECTED PERFORMANCES:

15 December 2019, Wilmslow United Reformed Church, Wilmslow
The Lindow Ensemble

 

COMMISSION:

Commissioned by The Lindow Ensemble

 

NOTES:  The starting point for this work was visits I made to wildflower meadows being created and conserved in Cheshire, and reflections on our inter-connections with the natural world.  Eyebright is a wildflower which keeps vigorous grasses at bay, allowing more delicate wildflowers to thrive.  It has a long history of use as a herbal medicine.  John Gerard, a sixteenth century botanist from Nantwich, Cheshire, writing in his illustrated Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes of 1597 says that eyebright 'taketh away the darknesse and dimnesse of the eyes, and cleareth the sight.' 

This picture shows part of a 5-panel piece by Val Hudson, which I commissioned from her.  Val often takes music as an inspiration for her pictures, and for this painting she listened to some of my compositions as she worked, particularly Eyebright and my first String Quartet Bodnant.

 

www.valhudson.co.uk

val hudson artist

String Quartet No. 1 ‘Bodnant’

1. Andante -Snowdonia Vista – The Round Garden – Snowdonia Vista
2. Moderato – The Dell
3. Largo – POEM
4. Allegro con brio – Terraces and Tulips

 

YEAR: 2011

 

DURATION: 20′

 

INSTRUMENTATION: String Quartet

 

SELECTED PERFORMANCES:
25 June 2013, Didsbury Arts Festival and 17 July 2013 Buxton Festival Fringe

Deconet String Quartet

 

11 November 2018 Spring Bank Arts, New Mills, High Peak and 7 April 2019 The Witham, Barnard Castle, Teesdale

Aquarius String Quartet

 

NOTES: This String Quartet came about from a visit to Bodnant Gardens in North Wales in early spring.  The outer parts of the first movement depict the sweeping views from the upper gardens onto Snowdonia, framing a descent into the Round Garden.  The path leads down into the Dell, a wooded valley and wild garden through which runs the Afon Hiraethlyn.  The visitor then ascends through the trees, passing the family mausoleum or Place Of Eternal Memory, from which a network of paths leads through shrubberies back to the front lawn and the flights of broad, Italianate terraces.  In the flower beds that spring were rows of defiant, red and yellow, perfectly formed and immaculately presented Queen of Sheba tulips, which inspired the final movement.

QUEEN-OF-SHEBA.jpg
Irwell Quartet

Soundcloud excerpts performed by The Irwell String Quartet

 

String Quartet No. 2  ‘day, turning’

1. Dawning
2. Flight
3. Radiance
4. Dance
5. Deepening
6. Secluding

 

YEAR: 2021

 

DURATION: 14′

 

INSTRUMENTATION: String Quartet

 

SELECTED PERFORMANCES:
Première by Cheshire Chamber Collective, to be confirmed

 

NOTES: During the COVID-19 lock-downs, sitting in a friend’s garden with its pond and varied topography, plants and wildlife, watching the day go by, was the genesis of this quartet.