Purge is the first piece in a suite for wind instruments called Melodrama, composed collaboratively with Platform 4.
The benefit of being the first composer to start working on the suite was that I had complete freedom over what I wrote, albeit with the knowledge that I needed to create something with enough character to suggest possible ways forward. I decided to make the flute material robust and blatantly aggressive in a way that would capture attention, using the voice extensively to augment and compound the breathless and relentless outpouring. It has been fascinating to see how the others used this material to create their own pieces, like a game of musical consequences.
This is the first time that Platform 4 has collaborated on a suite that is supposed to be performed as a single consecutive entity. We achieved this by writing the movements in the order they were to be performed, passing the scores on to each other, and in turn deciding which material from previous movements would survive in to the next. Hence, the suite has a unique structure. We decided to start with a piece for solo flute and add an instrument per movement, ending with the full quartet. A fifth (or rather, a first) composer is also involved, and appropriately for today's programme, it's Monteverdi. A rather diva-ish quotation from his Lamento d'Arianna infiltrates the suite during the second movement, and comes to dominate by the Finale.
Commissioned by Music in the Round for the Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2018.