Soaring - oboe and piano - 2003/7
(also exists in an arrangement for oboe and string quartet, and a version for soprano saxophone and piano)

duration 17 minutes

1 Soaring ~ 2 Capricious, Cold ~ 3 Still ~ 4 Dancing

"The music soars within the little lark, And the lark soars..." [Elizabeth Barrett Browning]

Completed in August 2003 this marked, to some extent, unfinished business, picking up afresh from the opening of a little piece abandoned just before my long silence. Initially conceived as an oboe/piano duo this was slightly expanded into a piece with a prominent oboe solo accompanied by a Schubert Trout line-up. In this form it won a prize in the Ivan Spassov competition in Bulgaria. However, reworking backwards, a duo version for oboe and piano was then reconstructed. To add further to the complicated genesis, an additional 'scherzo' movement was inserted. This won 1st prize in the IMRO Composers' Competition in Ireland in 2006, being performed by Chris Redgate and Mary Dullea at the Arklow Festival.

The sextet version was subsequently withdrawn in favour of a rescoring for oboe and string quartet (2007), made at the request of Joe Robinson, ex-NY Phil principal oboe (though sadly circumstance prevented a planned performence).

The first movement finds the oboe placed very high with fluid, cascading figures predominating; its central section, by contrast, is more static and restrained. The second movement scherzo reworks one of my Sappho Songs. Brief and somewhat relentless in its agitation, it is based around diminished triads. The third movement is very much a cantilena: expressive and emotional. The short finale is a little dance, reworking ideas from the first movement.

2004 Ivan Spassov Competition, Bulgaria
~ 3rd Prize
2006 IMRO Competition, Ireland
~ 1st Prize

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