Winter Music (1988)

Programme Note: John Buckley

Winter Music was commissioned by Anthony Byrne, with funding provided by the Irish Arts Council. The work was completed in January 1988 and given its first performance later that year by Anthony Byrne in the Purcell Room, London. As the title suggests, the piece is an evocation of winter. Its character ranges from reflection and quiescence to turbulence and activity. Overall, the piece has an arch-like shape as follows:
Fanfares - Making much use of the piano's characteristic sound of attack and decay.
A faster, more rhythmically impelled section - the rhythms here are very irregular; the time signature changing frequently. This section reaches a turbulant climax. Central section - is more tranquil and explores the sonorities and colour of the quieter aspects of winter.
A variation of the fast rhythmic section.
Fanfares- an extended version of the opening fanfares serves as a coda and brings the piece to a reflective conclusion.
Almost all the harmonic and melodic phrases are derived from the same basic material, which gives the piece a sense of unity, despite a variety of moods.
Winter Music is dedicated to Anthony Byrne.