Our new series of Britten Sinfonia at Lunch begins in Krakow on 30 November. This year, not only does every concert have a commission from a young composer, but each one has a 'senior' composer who has helped shape the programme. Colin Matthews has nominated Charlotte Bray, so we will hear both his Elegiac Chaconne and her new work Alliance.
Charlotte has written: 'My inspiration for Alliance grew from vivid and distinct images of natural light in various forms: sunlight burning through dense clouds, piercing glimpses of blinding light catching your eye as you rush through the air. Although the opening changed direction considerably as other ideas and inspirations came to the fore, the material generated from this motivation was exploited, finally taking on a more simple, prelude-like character.
The title was chosen for various reasons. Part of my inspiration came from a Neruda poem entitled Alliance (Sonata), from the collection Residence on Earth. Perhaps representing Neruda’s feelings of isolation and alienation from the world around him; he searches through his physical environment for something or someone to connect with. My piece centres on contrasts of bleak and uplifting characters, reflecting highs and lows of an emotionally unstable personality. So energised by Neruda’s imagery, I used words from the poem to inspire each movement: I abandoned sun; II trail of light; III the struggle of the days white with space; IV upflight of butterflies.
After discovering the poem, the title seemed appropriate and fitting with my musical ideas: a journey where members of the ensemble are at times in alliance with one another and sometimes apart. Who is with who? The idea of partnership within the ensemble was powerful in structuring the work.'