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Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes


World Premiere
Perth Concert Hall, Perth
musicians from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Nicholas Daniel OBE
Composer's Notes

Overflow is a wind dectet inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem, By The Sea, in which we experience the ocean’s power over the poet’s imagination - both alluring, unsettling and dangerous. The line from which this piece takes its title “Would overflow with Pearl” reminded me of an image from Jelaluddin Rumi’s poem Where Everything is Music whereby the tiniest motion of a pearl on the ocean floor can cause great waves above. The opening sonority of Overflow also draws inspiration from Rumi’s words of a “slow and powerful root that we can’t see” with a low B-flat, the lowest pitch of the ensemble emerging from silence.

By The Sea
by Emily Dickinson

I started Early – Took my Dog –
And visited the Sea –
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me –

And Frigates – in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands –
Presuming Me to be a Mouse –
Aground – opon the Sands –

But no Man moved Me – till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe –
And past my Apron – and my Belt
And past my Boddice – too –

And made as He would eat me up –
As wholly as a Dew
Opon a Dandelion's Sleeve –
And then – I started – too –

And He – He followed – close behind –
I felt His Silver Heel
Opon my Ancle – Then My Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl –

Until We met the Solid Town –
No One He seemed to know –
And bowing – with a Mighty look –
At me – The Sea withdrew –

Press Quotes

“Opening with a sturdy bassoon drone, it heaves and shimmers in its intimations of a tiny pearl moving on the ocean floor.” —The Guardian

“... it fills a conventional vessel with swirling eddies of new sounds, interspersed from time to time with Stravinsky-like rhythmical passages.” —Financial Times



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