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In sculptural terms a mobile is a three dimensional object with moving parts. Those parts never change in essence but, as they move, are seen in a seemingly endless series of different combinations and perspectives. This is the effect I have tried to achieve in this piece. I have taken a series of 36 chords, all diatonic to E flat major. Some are common chords, while most have one or more notes added to the basic triad. The chords have a further ‘logic’ in that the bass of each successive chord moves down step by step. Using them as a basis, I have constructed the three movements in the manner of classical variation technique adding a ‘free’ melody on top drawn from notes of the current chord. In this way I have tried to replicate the qualities of mobiles in terms of sound.
Mobile I is fast and lively; it has repeated chords overlayed with polyrhythms. In a further attempt to represent the concept of the piece, the material is presented in the same rhythmic and metric format three times. Mobile II has a slow walking bass over which combines with a very free, almost jazz-inflected melody conveying a feeling of calm and tranquillity. Mobile III is very playful and light and moves swiftly through and around the now familiar harmony.
Like Paradise haunts …, Three Mobiles also started out as a piece with piano accompaniment. It was commissioned by the Machynlleth Festival with funds made available in part by the Arts Council of Wales and was first performed on August 21st 2001 by Gerard McChrystal with Dan Moriyama (piano). The piece was revised in 2003 (when the version for String Orchestra was made) and again in 2006.
from notes by John Metcalf © 2007
|Metcalf: In time of daffodils|
World renowned Welsh composer, John Metcalf presents his new work, 'In Time of Daffodils'. A song cycle, originally set for voice & piano, Metcalf has extended his own work into an orchestral masterpiece, setting the words of much loved poets to ...» More