Excavations was written in re­sponse to the Manchester Camerata Young Composers’ Project, calling for works in­spired by Henry Purcell’s Fantazias to mark the 350-year an­niversary of his birth. I ar­rived at the music after close study of these works, in par­tic­ular the 4-part Fantazia in A minor (Z. 740). Some of the 17th-Century har­monic and melodic ma­ter­ials can be found re­fracted or as ghostly shadows of them­selves, but the fun­da­mental con­nec­tion is that of en­ergy. In a sense, this is an at­tempt to trans­late or ex­plain Purcell’s music through the com­bined fil­ters of his­tory and my mind – a ren­dering of my 21st-Century re­ac­tion to an an­cient music.

An earlier ver­sion of this piece was work­shopped by the Manchester Camerata and Clark Rundell on October 2nd 2008 in Studio 6 at the RNCM. This was in­valu­able during the sub­sequent re­vi­sion process.

The final ver­sion of Excavations re­ceived its premiere on 20th March 2009 as part of Vaganza New Music Day Deserts and Canyons: John McCabe at 70 under the baton of Robert Guy.

  • Instrumentation

    • 4 violins
    • 2 violas
    • 2 cellos
    • 1 double bass
  • Details

    • Duration: 5′
    • First performance: 20 March 2009, Vaganza