Into pieces is based on six poems by Richard Watkins, Peace; Night; Memories; Love; Seven Years and Autumn, which inspire each of the short movements. The title is a line from Memories, and fragments from the texts influence the direction of the piece. The opening movement, Peace, as the name suggests, immediately establishes a calm and smooth atmosphere through swelling humming sounds from part of the ensemble. This undertone is at conflict with the pointed music in the upper voices, influenced by the line ‘Peace won’t happen if you stay silent’. Percussive and rhythmic vocal sounds take over from these jarring lines, leading directly into Night, where very low dark sounds in the piano interject. The upper voices become more lyrical conjuring a bleak feel. However, this soon becomes more quick and playful reflecting the line ‘more exciting than the day’. Memories takes on the fragile delicacy of the poem on which it is based: ‘Memories…are chandeliers’. Glassy chimes in the percussion and piano are present throughout. The music gradually moves forward, becoming more intense as ‘…they shard into pieces’. Love is an extremely short and playful single-line movement, reflecting the poem: ‘I want to fall in love with someone like you. But not you.’ ‘Nothing is at rest…’ Seven Years starts-off with an earthy and engaging kinetic energy, which eventually leads to a rhythmic section almost entirely made up of percussive vocal sounds. Autumn concludes the piece, and very gently depicts falling leaves. Into pieces was commissioned by CoMA for the Festival of Contemporary Music for All in March 2016 with support from the Britten-Pears Foundation.
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