|About this Recording
8.570824 - CRESSWELL, L.: Voice Inside (The) / Alas! How Swift / Cassandra's Songs / Kaea (Pierard, New Zealand Symphony, Judd)
Lyell Cresswell (b. 1944)
The Voice Inside (2001), a concerto for violin, soprano and orchestra, was commissioned by the BBC and comprises settings of seven poems by Ron Butlin relating to the violin.
The various movements of the concerto explore different relationships between the two soloists and the orchestra. The soprano is mostly unaccompanied in the first movement, but as life is breathed into the violin it refuses to be hushed by the voice. The first scherzo is a game of tag and catch between the two soloists, with the orchestra acting as a referee. As befits a concerto, confrontation between violinist and orchestra begins the third movement. This grows into a three-way conflict once the soprano enters. The slow movement is an intense cantilena for the two soloists, with, for the most part, light orchestral accompaniment. In the second scherzo flashy violin writing alternates with orchestral outbursts and the soprano’s attempt to reel off the names of virtuoso violinists. The burlesque, with its reference to twelve equal tones, makes some misguided allusions to the Violin Concerto by Alban Berg, and the last movement is a desperate plea, simply asking to be heard. The movements are:
 I. Invocation
Hush – hush –
 II. Scherzo I
Your voice / My voice
 III. Vigorous
Not a woman’s voice – no:
 IV. Slow Movement
All sound has always held itself as absence
 V. Scherzo II
Four strings, body and bow.
 VI. Burlesque
Twelve equal tones dangling on a score,
 VII. Plea
Hear my voice, hear me listening
- Ron Butlin
The inscription on the north face of a sundial in the garden of Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, reads ‘I number none but sunny hours’. On the south side it says, ‘So passes life. Alas! How swift’.
 The music of Alas! How Swift is fast, with a constant speed of 138 beats per minute (or 2.3 beats per second). Around this constant, underlying tempo, however, the speed sometimes quickens and sometimes slows. Even the moments of relaxation are underpinned and, perhaps, ruffled by persistent movement. The impetus for the music comes from fast repeated notes on the solo trumpet (double-tonguing). This energy engulfs the whole orchestra.
Alas! How Swift (2006) was commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Cassandra’s Songs (2003) are taken from a larger work, Shadows Without Sun, which explores issues of exile, identity and belonging. This work was supported through a Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award and written for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
 Cassandra’s Lament
What I see is what I say –
– Ron Butlin
 Day and Night
By day my heart’s a language I cannot speak.
– Ron Butlin
 Teach me, gods of song
Teach me, gods of song, some harsh lament
– From Euripides’ The Women of Troy
 Cassandra’s Gifts
The King – A crown of iron and splintered bone.
– Ron Butlin
Here and there
– Ron Butlin
The kaea was a long Maori wooden war trumpet made of hollowed-out sections of wood, lashed and glued together. It was used to raise the alarm in times of danger or to terrify the enemy as curses were shouted through it.
 The trombone concerto Kaea (1997) is in one continuous movement although traces of a four-movement form (fast; slow; scherzo and trio; fast finale) can be detected. It is as if these four movements are played simultaneously, taking various turns to come to the fore. In the slow introduction the piccolo plays a descending melodic line covering a limited pitch range. This material, in various guises, acts as a thread throughout the work and is used extensively at its core: the slow middle section. Kaea was commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
All poems by Ron Butlin and Don Taylor’s translation of Euripides are used with kind permission.
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