On 16th Feburary the Scroll Ensemble will present a new project in the Orgelpark Amsterdam, with Guus Janssen (organ) and Cora Schmeisser (voice): O Solitude, a programme based around Henry Purcell combining past and present, early music and improvisation. For this performance I am writing a new piece, Still Point of the Turning World.
The inspiration for the programme is a quotation by T. S. Eliot: “Time present and time past is perhaps present in time future, and time future in time past” (Four Quartets). We see the past through the window of the present. Yet although our viewpoint changes still there is somethig that does not change, the ‘still point of the turning world’.
In Still Point there is no text, but a reflection of four short quotations by TS. Eliot using only improvised sounds and syllables. An echo of something not articulated- ‘other echos inhabit the garden’. The echos are also literal, through spatial use of instruments (violin recorder, gamba, voice, organ) in which everything is constantly transformed as the sound passes around the hall. Perhaps, each instrument reflects a different era of time coexisting in memory. Melodically, each movement is a different reflection of the same mode. There are influences of Eastern and medieval music, but at a distance and within a texture incorporating contemporary improvisation.
TS. Eliot's summary "We will not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time".