Symphonies of Time and Tide

Stephen Pratt (1947)

Symphonies of Time and Tide 2017

3233 - 4331 - timp - perc (3) - harp - strings
Duration 
20
Genre 
Publisher 

Commissioned to mark the composer’s 70th birthday, Symphonies of Tide and Time reflects on Stephen Pratt’s 40-year relationship with the Liverpool Philharmonic. ‘It’s about the passage of time and, in particular, my relationship with the Liverpool Phil since the 1970s, really,’ the composer says. ‘I know the members of the orchestra well, and regularly work with them in educational situations. My first piece for the orchestra was a concerto for orchestra; I decided against that this time, but I suppose when you can almost hear and see the people who’ll be playing it there is a certain aspect of that.’

The new work incorporates small quotations from three pieces which Pratt wrote for the orchestra. ‘Nobody would particularly recognise them, but they’re like little snapshots and for me are like recollections of different eras writing for the Phil and my own compositional career. They’re important reference points for me, but they’re not important structural points in the piece.’

The piece comprises seven sections within a single movement, which has a broadly symphonic shape. ‘The sections tend to present material which is developed elsewhere in the piece. It’s quite traditional in that sense.’

The title refers to a well-known adage, but one element has added significance. ‘The tide aspect is because I’ve lived in Liverpool for a lot of my life and the sea has always been important to me. Each of the seven sections has a climax at the end, then the music winds down again, so they’re almost like little peaks and troughs, like the tides.’

Although the piece is broadly a reflection on the past, I ask whether it is looking forward too. ‘I hope so! I don’t want to sound morose! I’d like to think it is. With each piece I’m finding out more about my way of working, and each piece is a discovery of what I’m trying to do.’

Performances 
18.1.18 Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Stephen Pratt
3
Flute
3rd piccolo
2
Oboe
3
Clarinet
3rd doubling bass clarinet
3
Bassoon
3rd contrabassoon
4
Horn
3
Trumpet
3
Trombone
3rd bass trombone
1
Tuba
1
Timpani
3
Percussion
1
Harp
(Esc)