A rare treat – the LSO and François-Xavier Roth gave me an hour of rehearsal time to run through the piece whose first performance they will give at the Barbican on May 28. I’ve very rarely had the chance to hear a work in advance of what are always rather stressful rehearsals in the few days before the performance, and it was a thrill to hear the LSO sight-reading everything with the expertise that only the very best orchestras can offer. Here’s my note on the piece:
Works written during the lockdown of 2020-21 have by now become something of a cliché. But I would not have composed Mosaics if it had not been for the sudden disappearance of performances and commissions at the beginning of 2020. Uncertain how to cope with this – deadlines are always a good incentive for composing – I decided that I should try to keep up momentum by plunging, without any preconceptions, into a piece for large orchestra. I began by almost improvising my way into the music, and the first of these studies was allowed to develop freely bar by bar. Its material forms the basis of many of the other studies, but some of them were reworkings of sketches for which I had not found a place, or of existing pieces – the fourth one, for instance, is a radical rethinking of a piece originally written for only 6 players. The movements were composed roughly in the order in which they appear, but the final order was not decided until I had completed the eleventh and largest one, which clearly had to end the sequence. Having no thought of performance while I was writing them, I am immensely grateful to the LSO and to François-Xavier Roth for choosing to perform them.
The work lasts around 25 minutes and the individual movements are:
- Allegro leggiero
- Allegro molto