Presage
 

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Presage was commissioned by Kirkos ensemble for their ‘Rite’ project in 2013, in which several Irish composers were asked to make a piece in response to a movement from Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps. Some made arrangements, others wrote original compositions inspired by the source material. All the pieces were then performed I concert in the order of the original movements.

Aside from the last bar – which is a reference to both the opening melody and the closing bass drum hits of ‘Mystic Circles of Young Girls’ – there’s nothing else to aurally connect this piece to that movement (or any in Le Sacre…). The music is, like much of my work, ‘out of time’. It’s floating – or trying to. The final pizzicato phrase is perhaps the clock beginning to tick once again. It’s a moment to stand outside the narrative (and I mean both the narrative of The Rite and all larger narratives…), to look back, look forward, slow the heart…

I had the image of (perhaps) my favourite Stravinsky piece, Elegy (1944, his only piece for solo viola), in my ears when I was working. I couldn’t help it. I suppose I imagined this piece as Stravinsky maybe imagining himself 30 odd years after Le Sacre, after everything that happened in the world in those intervening years – a premonition of that Elegy, and all that there would be to lament. Hence the title, Presage, which is an archaic (and more poetic) word for ‘premonition’.

Subtitle:
Instrumentation: solo viola
Duration: circa 2.5′
Date of composition: 2013
Commissioned by Kirkos Ensemble for their Rite of Spring Project.
First Performance: Kirkos Ensemble (Sebastian Adams, viola), Kirkos Ensemble Rite of Spring Project, Odessa Club, Dublin 2, 29 May 2013.
Recording:
Score: Please email orders@ergodos.ie to obtain the latest score.