First performed by Reto Bieri and Priya Mitchell, at the Oxford Chamber Music festival on 4 October 2018
for clarinet and violin
Dedicated to Gerry Mattock
Flittin’,in Scots, means ‘to move house’. Interestingly, the same word exists in the Scandinavian languages (flytta);but is not used in English in the same way. However, to the English ear the word has an airy lightness about it – a breezy optimism.
Having spent nearly half my life in Scotland, my return to England in October 2018 filled me with apprehension, sadness, excitement – a mixture of conflicted emotions. Scottish music and landscape has informed a large part of my work since I moved there in 1990, and I will always feel an immense gratitude for the support and inspiration I received in my adopted homeland.
I embarked on a series of ‘farewells’, intending to score them for 6,5,4,3,2 and 1 instrument(s) respectively. Priya Mitchell’s invitation to write a duo for the Oxford Chamber Music Festival also coincided with my intention to gift a piece to my long-time supporter and patron, Dr Gerry Mattock, in honour of his 90thbirthday. The festival was to take place just days before my move, so this ‘farewell’ is about new beginnings – about taking with me the most cheerful of dances, the jig, to a new life in England.
Using two treble instruments gives the music a certain rootlessness, but this in turn represents an airborn freedom.
This is the brightest of the six farewells, reflecting the joy and warmth of continuing friendship.
It was first performed on October 4th, at the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, by Reto Bieri and Priya Mitchell.