In late 2018, I was asked to write a piece for an ensemble created by Valentina Ciardelli, the then new Double Bass fellow at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. The lineup of this trio was rather unorthodox, being of a soprano, piano, and solo double bass. The purporse of this commission was to broaden what has historically been a not very well explored part of the repetoire: that of the solo double bass within chamber music.
Tasked with this, I once again came across the poetry of Thomas Hardy, whom I have set before to music (see "I Said to Love" for Tenor and Piano). This time, however, I happened across a smaller poem: the triolet "Birds and Winter Nightfall". The colourful language that Hardy uses to create the setting struck a chord within my imagination immediately, and I started to write. The piece was completed in December 2018, and was premiered in January 2019.
The textures that I used in this piece are my interpretation of a biting cold Winter's night, while the snow falls, threatening the livlihood of the small birds that appear in the gardens of the British Isles.
Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone
From holly and cotoneaster
Around the house. The flakes fly!--faster
Shutting indoors that crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone!