Spinning, Weaving

for string quartet

Rob Fokkens

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for string quartet

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Composer Rob Fokkens
Year of Composition 2021
Duration ca.5'
Instrumentation Violoncello, Viola, 2 Violins
Categories (all composers) , ,
Catalogue ID ce-rf1sw1


My operatic monodrama Bhekizizwe, written with librettist Mkhululi Mabija and premiered in March 2021 as a film by Opera’r Ddraig, tells the story of the title character from his early childhood in apartheid South Africa to studies and parenthood in the UK. When the Villiers Quartet asked me to be part of the From Home project, it struck me that this story of immigration – and the questions around where ‘home’ is which arise as Bhekizizwe starts to build relationships in the UK – connected well with the themes they were looking to explore.

A key moment in Bheki’s life in the UK is meeting and falling in love with a young white British woman, Sarah, presented in the opera as a series of short arias composed over the same ground bass. Spinning, Weaving introduces the materials from two of these arias as a series of fragmented lines and ideas which gradually get spun into musical threads. These threads are ultimately woven together into a passage which is very close to the arias before it again loses focus and dissipates.