Garland (for Matthew Locke)
The term ‘Garland’ refers to the idea of a string of ornaments and embellishments. The object of this embellishment is the music of Matthew Locke (1622-1677), English composer of consort music. When I first started thinking about this piece two years ago, the music of Matthew Locke was constantly coming to my mind. I had just recently discovered his consort music, and I was quite taken by it. So it felt as a natural consequence to let his music influence this piece. Also, this being my first commission for an English ensemble, I felt an intuitive need to make some kind of link to the tradition of English music. There are however many ways of working with older music in this way, and I actually think the piece has developed in other directions than I had anticipated two years ago. My original impulse was to work with the quiet, poetical atmosphere in the fantazie-beginnings of the 1st, 3rd and 5th suite in the ‘Consort of four parts’. This atmosphere sets the beginning in my piece, but it develops into more hard-edged nuances as my garland unfolds. I keep close to the lines in Locke’s music, but I couldn’t help let it take me into a world of conflict and disruption as well as the soft shadowland the piece started out in. Locke’s music is most of the time present only as some faint, often indiscernible voice in the background, but I let this voice come to the front at times throughout the piece.
First performed by BCMG conducted by Diego Masson on 1 November 2007 at CBSO Centre, Birmingham.