No Man's Land

Colin Matthews (1946)

No Man's Land 2011

2222 - 2200 - perc(1) - CD controls - upright pno/cel - strings (min 14.4.4.2)
Duration 
27
Solist 
Text Author 
Language 
Publisher 

'No Man's Land' follows on from my very positive collaboration with Christopher Reid on 'Alphabicycle Order' several years ago. The origin of the work was a phone call from Richard Hickox in November 2008, full of his usual bubbly enthusiasm and proposing a Proms commission to celebrate the City of London Sinfonia's 40th birthday. Like everyone, I was shocked to learn of his sudden death 3 days later. Richard conducted my first ever Proms perfomance, in 1983, and clearly the work had to be written in his memory. I have been obsessed with the First World War for some while (my grandfather died on the Somme) but it's a difficult subject to treat musically - I've set Edmund Blunden (in my choral work 'Aftertones') but have avoided setting other war poets, particularly with the example of Britten and Wilfred Owen in mind. When I asked Christopher Reid to provide the text for this work, I suggested the concept of a soldier in the midst of war, almost unaware of what he's found himself in. In the event his sequence of poems provided something different : the ghosts of two soldiers hang on barbed wire in no man's land. 'To pass the time, we let the wind/rummage in the hollows of our skulls/for memories and scraps of song and whisps of rhyme'. The work is divided into two parts, and last approximately 25 minutes.

Colin Matthews

Comments 

Written to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the City of London Sinfonia

Performances 
21.8.11 BBC Proms, London: Ian Bostridge; Roderick Williams; City of London Sinfonia; Stephen Layton
25.1.13 FOCUS! Festival, New York: New Juilliard Ensemble
9.7.16 Lichfield Festival, Lichfield Cathedral: Robin Tritschler; Roderick Williams; BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Martyn Brabbins
2
Flute
2
Oboe
2
Clarinet
2nd bass clarinet
2
Bassoon
2
Horn
2
Trumpet
1
Percussion
large militiary drum, hi-hat, bass drum BD with foot pedal, suspended cymbal, tam-tam (with bow)
7
Violin
7
Violin II
4
Viola
4
Cello
2
Double bass
1
Piano
upright piano or celesta
1
Other
CD controls
(Esc)