"Stretti" - Vox 21
I began work on this 25' composition – a kind of Concertino for recorder(s) and ensemble – in Céret (French Catalonia) in May 2001 and finished it in Dublin the following November. It is written for 8 musicians, is in 8 sections, and is built on 8 transpositions of an 8-note scale. Originally it was to be a kind of "divertimento" after the rigours of the works that preceded it (“Inter Pares” and “Passage-Work”), but the events of 11 September and the ensuing onslaught on Afghanistan shaped the final section, which is now a kind of elegy interspersed with violent episodes, and quoting the mediaeval "Dies irae" chant minus its famous opening phrase. Only the first, fifth and final sections use the entire ensemble, and the solo recorder is absent only from the seventh; even there it enters in the final bar, linking it without a break to the eighth. I have used the sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, bass and great bass recorders; section II, written for the latter rarity, also provides a version for bass. The work demands some virtuosity from all performers, not just the soloist!