NORTH SEA QUARTET

ELECTRIC GUITAR, PERCUSSION, PIANO & SYNTHESIZER · 2017


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There’s a different kind of light over Hull. As the train from the West approaches the spectacular Humber Bridge, clouds clear, the sky seems paler and here, as Larkin wrote of this landscape that he had an ambivalent relationship with, “Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach… Here is unfenced existence.”

North Sea Quartet keeps travelling, to the end of the line, beyond that beach, and like the countless working men and women from Kingston upon Hull whose livelihood relied on maritime pursuits, we, too, are now left to the mercy of those freezing, crashing waves and that eternal lapping tide. The North Sea – what a glorious expanse of water, beautiful and life-giving, a vision of endless possibility, connecting countless generations to their hopes and dreams; of travel and of foreign countries and people, myths, adventure and conquest. It’s also a perilous force, one to be respected and revered. Keep watch for any new threat that might loom on its horizon. The North Sea Quartet is its own sea, a sea of electronic pulses evoking the constancy and restlessness of the tide. Light bounces off the ocean surface as the guitar shimmies and flickers between the swelling and rippling watery repeated piano motifs. There’s an incandescence and elegance to this piece as well as a murky depth. We surrender to its unrelenting spirit, bob up and down joyfully in its shallows, plunge into its salty depths and put our faith in its power to both plunder and redeem.

Programme Notes by Elizabeth Alker · Broadcaster, BBC Radio 3.

1 ELECTRIC GUITAR

with on-stage amplifier · volume, reverb and delay signal processors

1 PERCUSSION

vibraphone (F3-F6) · tubular bells (D4, F#4, G#4; B4) · tuned gongs (C2, D2, E2, F2; G2)

1 PIANO
1 SYNTHESIZER

with on-stage amplifier/p> DURATION: c.7 MINUTES
PUBLISHED BY MUSIC SALES
ALDEBURGH, NOV 2015 (First Sketch)