for violin and harpsichord

Jeremy Pike

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for violin and harpsichord

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Composer Jeremy Pike
Year of Composition 2019
Duration 6' 30"
Instrumentation Violin, Harpsichord
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-jp2c1


Cascades was inspired by a walk along a fast-flowing stream created by melting ice, where the cold, clear water cascades over a series of waterfalls. These are represented by rapid note figurations in the harpsichord, generally falling in pitch but sometimes bouncing back upwards again. Meanwhile the violin part is essentially melodic, conveying the conflicting emotions of the walker contemplating the disturbing effects of the warming climate, whilst observing the ever-changing patterns of reflected light in the stream as it tumbles down the rocks. The musical material for the two instruments is closely related in terms of the pitches and intervals used, whilst being fundamentally different in character. The violin reacts with melodic motives to a progression of chordal ideas that appear first in the harpsichord, with all the material for the work derived from the six-note broken chord figure in the opening bar. As the music progresses the material of the two instruments gradually becomes more intertwined, reaching a forceful unison statement of the opening at the final climax.

Cascades was commissioned by Jennifer Pike and Mahan Esfahani, who gave the premiere in Hong Kong, broadcast on RTHK 4 national radio, during their tour of China in May 2019, which included performances in Guangzhou, Wuhan and Changsha. The UK premi re was given by members of Chetham’s Contemporary Music Ensemble as part of the New Music Manchester Festival in November 2019.