top of page

A Journey Inwards


Spiral Staircase


An autobiographical atonal work from 1989 in which the viola starts a riot. I was once a player of that instrument, back in the days I was writing romantic music for my friends to play, when we were at school together.

The piece uses a technique derived from serialism: a set of musical objects is repeated in a Webernian kind of passacaglia; into this set I periodically insert a new object, lengthening the set and displacing the existing material outwards; an idea I derived form fractal design - it has the effect of moving inside the existing material (Hence A Journey Inwards). But the viola is fed up with all this and wants to express something more tangible and emotive. It starts disrupting all the rigour and drags the other instruments along with it - and all hell breaks loose. There's a sudden pause, after which the other instruments 'jump' on the viola in retribution.

Given my own journey - from what I loved writing when I was that teenager, through obligatory atonal modernism and finally feeling my way back to the world I left behind long ago - I hope the message in this music is self-evident;  because, from the time I wrote this work onwards, only slowly did I find the confidence to take this difficult journey inwards and find myself once more.


Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Flute, Clarinet in B flat, Oboe, Bassoon

bottom of page