Hesketh, K. (2015) Inscription-transformation. [Composition]


For solo violin and orchestra, duration 14 minutes. This work was premiered on 29 January 2016 at Stadthalle Göttingen, Germany, by Janet Sung (violin) and the Göttingen Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph-Mathias Mueller. A recording by Janet Sung with the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Jac van Steen is available on SOMM Recordings (SOMMCD 275) see: "The title not only has a literal meaning (words written or inscribed upon a surface and an act of metamorphoses) but also suggests a musical form which the work follows (material unfolded at the beginning becomes referred to, mutated and eventually transformed into new material alongside others parallel to the main argument). The piece is part of a current cycle of works that have the idea of Momento Mori/Vanitas and memorial at their centre (‘of Time and Disillusionment’ and ‘In Ictu Oculi’ being two other representative works). Two people are remembered in this piece, the French composer Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013) and my grandmother Muriel McMahon (1926-2015). The violin and orchestra function in various dialectic modes (oppositional, symbiotic, hierarchic). There is a sense of the ritualised, cyclical and meditative space in the piece but not without sporadic violent outbursts. The notion of entropy (another emerging principle in my work), in the humanist sense is present here, namely that all complex systems fail and lead to disorder. This is similar to Descartes’s comments on the inevitable degradation of the somatic self. This idea of gradually dissipating levels of energy (intentionally different between soloist and orchestra) informs the dynamism and contour of the piece throughout." © Kenneth Hesketh

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