Spiri is written for a small ensemble: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola and cello.
My inspiration came from a visit to Anglesey and the steely-blue sea on cold crisp winter days; the spiral structure of sea shells; the spirals of coral found deep in the ocean and the spirals of seagulls as they descend and rise on the air currents.
My starting point was the circle of 5ths. I was interested to see the result of the keys as they were generated through descending intervals. Starting on the note G, a ‘spiral’ was generated: G major, F major, D minor, A minor, D major, F major, G major. The tonic note of each key also became the melodic sequence to be used throughout the piece.
The piece consists of a theme and variation structured as a simple Rondo; ABA. The melodic sequence is presented simply at the beginning (A), moving through the keys with embellishments in ever decreasing and increasing time signatures in Episode B, before a return of the theme (A).
As a flautist myself, this piece explores the strength and fragility of breath exploring the intangibility of the spaces between the notes, harmonics, harmonies and the melodic phrases as they ‘float’ and ‘spiral’ weaving between the instruments in a polyphonic texture.
The title Spiri is an imagined derivative from the word ‘spiral’, the Latin translation ‘spira’ and the Spanish/ Esperanto translation ‘to breathe’.
(The audio has been created electronically using notation software.)