Boots of Lead
Boots of Lead is the third part of “a ribbon of time”, a cycle of five pieces which take their impetus from my ongoing fascination with the poetry of Emily Dickinson. The poem which opens “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” (c.1861) is the spur behind this central piece. It could be seen as being the still centre of the cycle. It is scored for alto voice with an offstage clarinet in A. Onstage, with the alto, there is a flute, oboe d’amore, second clarinet in A (mostly doubling bass), horn, cimbalom and percussion, piano (doubling celesta), harp with violin, viola and bass. The music is a stately, claustrophobically slow, frozen dirge, which at one point almost disappears completely.
Boots of Lead is available on CD from NMC Recordings featuring BCMG conducted by Martyn Brabbins, from the link on the right.
First performed by BCMG, conducted by Simon Rattle, at CBSO Centre, Birmingham on 27 October 2002.