I’ve suddenly realised that I have a very busy year ahead, starting with three premieres in the next couple of weeks. Kicking things off is the first performance of ‘Symphony Cocteau’, a long, four movement work for the more unusual combination of sax quartet and piano. This takes place in the US tonight, in New Jersey, and is given by the incredibly brilliant East End quartet plus pianist Szu-Yi Li.
Symphony Cocteau is a four movement work inspired by the essence of Cocteau’s creative output across various media (poetry, plays, film, novels, art, etc.). It evokes characteristics and moods that were typical of his way of working, and all displaying a lightness of touch; with twists and turns and elements of surprise and illusion.
The piece follows a traditional symphonic structure, with a fast opening movement followed by an off-beat Ländler. Then there is a longer slow movement which moves straight into a bright finale. A short, magical, chord progression that is heard near the opening of the work reappears transformed in each movement, and then returns to round the piece off.