Litanies (1981) for flute (doubling bass flute), string trio and harp is ‘a memory of a memory’ of my early years in Cuba. In it I recall the unclear and very distant scenes of my childhood, recreating in a world of sound the fast and low praying that I heard in church and juxtaposing it with the mixed songs of the fishermen as they celebrated the various holy feast days. The rhythms of the faster sections are based on words sung by the fishermen, and the form of the work is ABACA – always returning to the low intoning of church prayer.
Litanies is not a religious composition, but rather, it is a celebration of those simple days as a child in Cuba that are long gone. It’s dedicated to my sister Margarita.
The work was premiered by Lontano at the Wigmore Hall, London in 1981 and later broadcast by BBC Radio 3. It has been widely toured in Ireland and received several performances in the United States.