Into Pieces – by Hannah Kendall

Wonderful classical composer Hannah Kendall has cut six of my poems into pieces for a new work.

Into Pieces will be premiered as part of the CoMA national festival of contemporary music on 4th March 2016 at Kings Place – performed by London Sinfonietta & Contemporary Music for All, and conducted by Gregory RoseI will be reading the poems that inspired each of the 6 movements.

You can buy tickets here


The short poems are all taken from my last book Most Things Move: Peace, Night, Memories, Love, Seven Years and Autumn. And the title is taken from a line in Memories:

Memories are wine glasses,
Window panes.

With time
They shard
Into pieces.

Their shape changed forever,
Their weight forever the same.

This is what Hannah has to say about her work:

The opening movement, Peace, as the name suggests, immediately establishes a calm and smooth atmosphere through swelling humming sounds from part of the ensemble. This undertone is at conflict with the pointed music in the upper voices, influenced by the line ‘Peace won’t happen if you stay silent’. Percussive and rhythmic vocal sounds take over from these jarring lines, leading directly into Night, where very low dark sounds in the piano interject. The upper voices become more lyrical conjuring a bleak feel. However, this soon becomes more quick and playful reflecting the line ‘more exciting than the day’.

Memories takes on the fragile delicacy of the poem on which it is based: ‘Memories…are chandeliers’. Glassy chimes in the percussion and piano are present throughout. The music gradually moves forward, becoming more intense as ‘…they shard into pieces’.

Love is an extremely short and playful single-line movement, reflecting the poem: ‘I want to fall in love with someone like you. But not you.’

‘Nothing is at rest…’ Seven Years starts-off with an earthy and engaging kinetic energy, which eventually leads to a rhythmic section almost entirely made up of percussive vocal sounds.

Autumn concludes the piece, and very gently depicts falling leaves


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