The quietest name of the wind

flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, trombone, vibraphone, viola, double bass

Composed 2006, duration 8’00”

Dedicated to Alex Brownlee.
Comissioned by gateseven, with funding from Creative New Zealand.

The quietest name of the wind, page 1The quietest name of the wind, page 2

The first stirrings of this piece coincided with the birth of my second child. So it may be heard as a small gesture of welcome. However, as often happens, musical development overtook any outward metaphorical expression, and I find myself searching afterwards to link the music to something beyond itself. The title is a phrase from Bill Manhire’s poem, ‘What to Call Your Child’, chosen for its intrinsic resonance, rather than any link to its original context. The child’s name is encoded in the music, not so much for its meaning, but for the tension generated when spontaneous composition is disrupted by the intrusion of arbitrary elements. Connections between the musical materials and images of growth, development, and disruption, and the natural environment mentioned in the title, can no doubt be found, but don’t take my word for it. Or, as Samuel Beckett put it, ‘What a rest to speak of bicycles and horns.’