Insomniac

Charlie Piper (1982)

Insomniac 2011

111ssax1-1110-pno.hp.perc-11111
Duration 
16
Commissioner 

As someone who has always been a light sleeper I am no stranger to full nights of insomnia. This can take different forms, from calm acceptance to hellish frustration. Insomniac is made up of three short movements exploring some of these states in-between sleep and wakefulness.

Often when I am stressed or have a lot of work to do I can spend the night with my mind flitting anxiously between various incoherent, inconclusive situations, attempting to make sense of issues of the day. The first movement is driven by nervous energy from the outset, striving to establish some regularity or calm but becoming increasingly agitated, darting between different materials.

During the course of writing this work I spent some time in the Swedish island Gotland where I experienced for the first time the (almost) continual sunlight they receive during summer. After sunset there remains a calming and mysterious, bright glow in the sky that confuses your ability to judge the hour. This of course heavily affected my sleeping patterns and made me realise just how much our bodies rely on light to tell us how we should be feeling. The second movement is inspired by my time in Gotland - with a much more subdued character and gently limping rhythms, I explore the often surreal state of mind experienced at the peripheries of consciousness.

The final movement is concerned with insomnia caused by other external influences - such as a neighbour having an all-night party. It is boisterous and wild in nature but, as with the other movements, focused by a frustrating obsessiveness.

Charlie Piper

Performances 
29.7.11 Kings Place, London: London Sinfonietta/Pierre-André Valade
5.11.11 Queen Elizabeth Hall, London: London Sinfonietta/Martyn Brabbins
3.9.12 Utrecht, Netherlands: Asko Schönberg Ensemble / Etienne Siebens
25.10.13 University of Sydney, Australia: Modern Music Ensemble
1
Flute
doubling piccolo
1
Oboe
1
Clarinet
doubling bass clarinet
1
Saxophone
soprano sax
1
Bassoon
doubling contrabassoon
1
Horn
1
Trumpet
1
Trombone
1
Violin
1
Violin II
1
Viola
1
Cello
1
Double bass
1
Harp
1
Piano
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