After our lives changed and every concert in my diary was cancelled, I lost interest in the music I was writing. I will come back to it, of course, when circumstances alter for the better, but it seemed pointless to work towards deadlines that had just evaporated.
Instead I wrote a piece for solo vibraphone, An extraordinary mildness, for Claire Edwardes and then an ensemble piece, Trace, for Claire’s group, Ensemble Offspring. Work on Trace also overlapped with the beginning of new cello music, Hieroglyph, for the remarkable Israeli musician, Dan Weinstein.
I first met Dan as part of the Israel Contemporary Players when they premiered the chamber orchestra version of Topophony at the start of 2017 and we spent more time together during the Zlil Meudcan festival in July 2019 and then in November 2019 for the premiere of A New Ocean in the Ramon Crater.
When I meet exciting, intelligent musicians it’s almost impossible to resist the temptation to write music for them and the result this time is music that gradually tries to find its own meaning. Hieroglyph begins with quite anonymous, abstract sounds – different ways of playing the cello presented sequentially – and then, over the course of about 18 minutes, tries to piece them together in a way that might make more sense.
Because I am still finishing it I don’t fully understand how the music works but it seems to end with a number of attempts to decode the hieroglyphs with which it begins.