Programme Notes

Sarah Westwood - Into the Blank Expanse of Space

Written for Xenia Pestova and Carla Rees, for the 6th Cheltenham Composers Academy. With thanks to Scott Wilson.

Into the Blank Expanse of Space uses Georgie Lorimer’s poem 'Book III – The Artist’s Kintsukuroi – 2:10’ as impetus for coming to terms with loss. The electronics are a recording of the poem, and uses the decay (and at times attack) of the voice recording, spoken by Laura Coppinger.

Book III – The Artist’s Kintsukuroi – 2:10

You feathered wings like he deflowered love:
Dispassionate, cold, ugly as beauty,
Beautiful as the burgeoning pustules
Of salt-scented, red sea anemones
Blossoming from an outcrop of rock.

At night, walking back to the flat above
Your studio, it was hard not to think
Of the wire feet in jars and ampullas
Of glass eyes staring like spiders, winking
Into a blank expanse of space. The clock,

Ticking static shudders from crumpled wings,
Chimed a single syrinx for nineteen
Ravens, laid out seconds, white and bare, in
Lines, like paper-chains of pale, hand-clasped dolls

Georgie Lorimer, 2014

Duration: 6’30 approx.

Premiere: 15/07/2018 Carla Rees and Xenia Pestova at Chapel Arts, Cheltenham Music Festival, Cheltenham

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