Jaunt - Scherzo for String Quartet
Duration: 10 mins
When Christine Anderson, the Aurea Quartet's violist (and an old friend), approached me about composing a new work as part of the group's 'Music of our Roots' concert series at St John's Smith Square, my first instinct was that my piece should be not only reflective of Scotland, but of Christine herself. The resulting piece is therefore predominantly lively and playful in an attempt to echo Christine's vibrant personality and terrific sense of humour, while the pensive viola solo heard at the beginning of the work, and the long viola melody (against a backdrop of skittish violins) heard at the heart of the piece pay further tribute.
Concerning the Scottish influence upon the music, I decided that I would reconnect with some of my earliest childhood memories, and so, during the early stages of composition I revisited the Sixteenth Century Palace of Culross, a small and magical village in the Borough of Fife which has captured my imagination since my first visit as a young child. Painted yellow with rooftops of red tiles and a colourful garden, the palace exudes an elegant vibrancy which I looked to emulate in my music. An additional and entirely unrelated image which I kept in mind was the Coirre nan Uriskin, or Goblin Corrie near Loch Katrine where I grew up. Here, the legend goes, the Urisks (goblins) would hold their councils, and I like to think that some of their badinage worked its way into my quartet!
The title, Jaunt, refers to my perception of the piece as being a light-hearted journey.
Jaunt was commissioned by the Aurea Quartet with the support of St John's Smith Square and premiered in St John's Smith Square on 20th September 2015.