for Violin and Piano
It has always given me pleasure to plunder the works of the masters, making off with a few scraps of their material to make into something of my own. I made free with snippets of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro to make Figures in the Garden; the same composer gave me the material for The Magic Flute Dances and An Airmail Letter From Mozart. Bach’s instrumental works from his Köthen period underpin my Köthener Messe. Of course, I chose fragments which I found particularly congenial, and chimed with my own musical interests. But the strength of personality in even the shortest quotation from Bach or Mozart had an impact on the music I was able to make, and led me to unexpected places.
Without Krysia Osostowicz’s invitation, I do not think I would have dared to attempt to pick Beethoven’s pockets. Even in his earliest violin sonata, Beethoven’s material is more volatile, dramatic and surprising than the classical and baroque sources I had previously drawn on. Nonetheless, tiny particles of the D major sonata seemed to stick to my fingers. Stealthily borrowing a phrase here, a juxtaposition there, Ludwig Games playfully extends an upbeat to the sonata.
Commissioned by Krysia Osostowicz and Daniel Tong as part of the Beethoven Plus project 2014–2015
First performance: 14th May 2015, Krysia Osostowicz (violin) and Daniel Tong (piano), Kings Place, London.