Rest in Reason, Move in Passion...

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Length / year

17' - 1995




" . . . much inventive writing . . . the Angell Trio were alive to every nuance of this attractive score "
East Anglian Times 18/10/99

" . . . [the piece] succeeded . . . in getting away from the traditional shackles that hang about the piano trio as a medium"
Rian Evans, The Western Mail, 21/06/97

Performance history

World Premiere
Lower Machen Festival, Wales
28th June 1995
Joachim Piano Trio

London Premiere
Foyer Royal Festival Hall, London
29th June 1995
Angell Piano Trio

First Broadcast
BBC Radio 3
29th September 1995
Angell Piano Trio

Italian Premiere
British Council, Rome
12th December 1995
Velca Ensemble

South American Premiere
Cristancho Academy - Sala Bacata, Bogota, Columbia
16th April 2001
Nicolas Ramirez-Celis - violin
Alison Fish - cello
Evandra Esteves - piano

Portuguese Premiere
Academia Nacional da Orquestra, Lisbon
11th June 2001
Sentica Trio: Nicolas Ramirez-Celis/Alison Fish/Evandra Esteves

Programme note

The challenge of writing a third work for this particular combination of instruments (vln/vc/pfte) was one that I considered carefully before accepting. Initially I had viewed with reserve the essentially nineteenth century of this grouping of instruments. I thought of its cafe and salon music antecedents and the tendency of some of the existing trios to aspire to be mini piano concertos (accompanied by violin and cello). My response to this compositionally was to choose musical ideas and figurations which suggest the popular music of today. An early tongue-in-cheek, working title was 'Popular Music'. Though my work is dominated by piano it largely eschews virtuosity.

A second key idea was connected with 'Songlines'. This has been explored in literary forms by Bruce Chatwin, and musically by Kevin Volans and Peter Sculthorpe. A cultural construct of aboriginal peoples, it correlates directly the ideas of travel, life/journeying and music. I was interested in exploring these ideas in a Welsh context and my interest was further aroused by a comment by someone close to where I live. "At one time it was moor land from here to North Wales." Last year I had written a solo piano piece 'Inner Landscapes' and I was interested also in the idea of an imaginary journey.

A third stimulus came from a remark made by Annette Morreau during the 1994 Vale of Glamorgan Festival. Referring to the strong rhythmic basis and simple harmonic structure of some recent music, she went on to note that melody was still very unfashionable. Given the nature of the combination of instruments I was drawn to writing very prominent melodic lines for the violin and cello in particular.

With such a rich and mixed source of inspiration the choice of a title was difficult, until one day I found a hand-written quote on my desk attributed to the Prophet Hallelujah Brown. "Rest in reason, move in passion . . ." I liked it immediately. It somehow suggests the world of the piece to me so I have adopted it as a title. I still have no knowledge as to its context and origin nor of the identity of the Prophet Hallelujah Brown.

On a musical level the piece represents a new departure for me. It is entirely based on a sequence of four bass notes: E - C - A - D. Essentially the work is built modally on these notes with a couple of transpositions somewhat after halfway through the piece. There are twelve variations on this simple scheme of things, played without a break and lasting about fifteen minutes.

'Rest in reason, move in passion . . .' was commissioned by the Lower Machen Festival with funds made available by the Arts Council of Wales.