And his dark secret

 

Title: And his dark secret
Year: 2013
Category: large ensemble
Instrumentation: fl(picc),fl(picc),cl(b.cl),a.sax(sop.sax),bari.sax(sop.sax),tpt,hrn,tbn,tbn,tba,perc(1),pf,e.guit,e.bass,sop,m.sop
Notes: Percussion required – 1 player: xylophone, vibraphone, bass drum, timpani
Duration: 3’30”
First performance: orkest de ereprijs (cond. Rob Vermeulen), with Christina Schönbach (soprano) and Gosia Stencel (mezzo), Podium Gigant, Apeldoorn, Holland (21/02/2013)
Publisher: Composers Edition

Programme note
‘And his dark secret’ takes its name and text from William Blake’s The Sick Rose:

The Sick Rose

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

William Blake (1794)

This piece is in many senses a miniature, but not simply due to its brevity. Whist it is short, its architecture speaks of larger form and contains the detail and development one might expect of a more extensive work. The comparison between a life-size portrait and a locket containing a miniature painting may be useful. Both endeavour to show the likeness of a person in detail, but whilst the portrait is for public view and given ample space, the locket is a personal memento constrained to a tiny surface. ‘And his dark secret’ is akin to the locket: it contains multiple contrasting sections that only have the shortest time to make their point. It is not intended as a series of fragments, but attempts to unify its constituent parts. It is a compressed work that derives its tension from constraint and constriction.