Edmund Finnis talks to us about his new work ‘Shades Lengthen’

Friday 20 November 2015
Posted by: amydodero

Edmund Finnis

With the world premiere of Shades Lengthen just under three weeks away, we spoke to Edmund Finnis, LCO Composer-in-Association, and asked him how he approaches a new work, and in particular, this commission for the LCO and violinist Benjamin Beilman:

“I have a tendency to begin new pieces by imagining music in quite visual terms. Not in any pictorial or illustrative sense, but in a more abstract way, thinking about foregrounds, backgrounds and planes in between, and considering how different elements within a piece might be made to interact, overlap and sit alongside one another.

While working on this violin concerto I was thinking explicitly about line and shadow. The solo violin is almost always heard distinctly in the foreground, voicing clearly articulated arcing lines of sound. Parts of these lines are often picked up by instruments in the ensemble, ‘shadowed’ and heard again in canon or in stretched elongated forms. The ensemble also creates varied kinds of sound surfaces upon which the solo line and its shadows are cast. Throughout the four movements of the piece there is an overriding obsession with lines in simple rising and falling motions, heard from the violin and threaded through the ensemble at different registers and at varied speeds.

As well as referring to the relationship between soloist and ensemble, I also wanted the title of the piece to evoke a particular quality and mood of evening light, closing of day, when the colours of sky can intensify before draining away. While writing the ending of the piece I was thinking about the subtle sense of acceleration that can be felt while observing the last seconds before sun dips below horizon.”

We’ve got the perfect venue to unveil Edmund’s new work – the stunning 18th-century St John at Hackney Church, on Thursday 10 December at 8pm. Click here for full details and to buy tickets.

‘Shades Lengthen’ has been commissioned by London Music Masters with generous support from The Boltini Trust.

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