My chamber ensemble piece Rattle His Bones is now available to listen to at soundcloud.com/jonathan-woolgar. Below is the programme note:
Rattle His Bones is based on a little music-box chorale I wrote several years ago but never really got out of my system. The title is taken from Ulysses (although it turns out that Joyce was quoting a rather sentimental religious poem by Thomas Noel). While the instrumentation is stark – four winds, two brass and “rhythm section” – the material is not. A slow-moving, dreamlike opening, during which winds chime out the chorale, gives way to a substantial fast section with the feel almost of a medieval dance. This halts abruptly, though, at the piece’s pivot-point – the music that follows is more detached, occasionally surging or pulling back before eventually the complete chorale enters played by veiled piano and percussion. The rest is ghostly coda. Have we come back to where we started? Yes and no. The ghost train has done its circuit, but the riders have been shaken by the experience.