Fantasia on a Lament (2011)
Instrumentation: oboe and digital delay-processing pedal
Commissioned by the Spitalfields Music Festival
When I was asked by Spitalfields Music to write my first piece on UK soil, notably a composition for solo oboe, I immediately thought of how this instrument has developed since Elizabethan times. The oboe was referred to as the ‘hautbois’ in the mid 17th century, its predecessor known as the ‘shawm’, and so I recalled musical styles during the Elizabethan era. Since English music flourished during the Renaissance and the Baroque periods, I was always inspired by Purcell’s simple lament from his opera Dido and Aeneas, “When I am Laid in Earth”. I decided to use a delay pedal for this composition, in order to exhibit a hypnotic homage based on this theme, bringing the audience to an earlier time in England’s history. As this commission is improvised on this melody, Fantasia on a Lament became the appropriate title due to its hauntingly melancholic landscape. Fantasia on a Lament was premiered at the Spitalfields Music Festival on 14 December 2011, and was professionally recorded by AHRC Research Fellow Christopher Redgate at the Royal Academy of Music on 3 March 2012.