Illusions

John Buller (1927)

Illusions 1997

3323 - 43300 - perc(2) - strings (8.8.10.7.5)
Duration 
12
Genre 
Commissioner 

The word illusions appears to have several meanings. In Shakespeares Henry VIII it is the devils illusion; to T.S. Eliot poetry could give the illusion of a view of life; to some it seems to suggest just a lie. Yet the philosopher Gorgias, whom Plato knew, said that the man who is deceived can have more wisdom than he who is not, and Coleridge talked of "the willing suspension of disbelief". In this particular piece I felt that a number of purely musical illusions could make a kind of mosaic, following each other with little apparently connecting them. (Neither are these allusions to other musics - save to my own at moments, unless three chords near the beginning remind one of the "Magic Flute".) There is, at least to my mind, a connecting thread to Robert Johnson's setting of "Hark, hark! the lark" which apparently is accepted as being the original for "Cymbeline" in 1609. Illusions are obviously so much a part of theatre that this lute song formed a kind of illusion seed-bed for me. In my mind again there are, near the end, references to Gerard Manley Hopkins.

John Buller

Performances 
5.7.97 Cheltenham Festival: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / Vassily Sinaisky
3
Flute
2nd doubling alto flute, 3rd doubling piccolo
3
Oboe
3rd cor anglais
2
Clarinet
3
Bassoon
3rd contrabassoon
4
Horn
3
Trumpet
3
Trombone
3rd bass trombone
2
Percussion
vibraphone, woodblock, temple block, 3 suspended cymbals, 2 tom-toms, castanets, timpani, bongos, 2 timbales, 3 roto-toms, tam-tam, tambourine
8
Violin
8
Violin II
10
Viola
7
Cello
5
Double bass
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