Hayes, Morgan: Viscid. Rental
Full score and instrumental material
Commissioned by the Brunel Ensemble and the Park Lane Group
1st perf (original version): Brunel Ensemble, Christopher Austin (cond), PLG Young Artists Series, Purcell Room, London, 5 January 1997
1st broadcast (revised version): Brunel Ensemble, Christopher Austin (cond), BBC Radio 3, 8 January 1999
Duration: 10 minutes
For flute/piccolo/alto flute, oboe/cor anglais, clarinet in A/clarinet in E flat/bass clarinet, bassoon/contrabassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion (two players), piano/celeste, two violins, viola, cello and double bass
The title, which evokes the texture of certain portions of the piece, means ‘thick, transparent, liquid’. The often stark juxtapositions of unwinding webs of melodic lines and chords of varying lengths occurred to me while admiring the empty gasometers by Kings Cross Station. I think of this performance of Viscid, the first in its revised version, as an elegy for that derelict landscape, now consumed in a massive redevelopment of the area which in turn will yield its own poetry of space and atmosphere.
© Morgan Hayes
And I was just as pleased by Viscid, a brand new score by a young composer called Morgan Hayes. What it had to do with the King’s Cross gasometers that supposedly inspired it I’m not sure, and it needed some fine-tuning in the interests of clarity and sense; but the music had been powerfully imagined, with glamorous sounds, big gestures, and a suggestion of Birtwistle reheard through a glass darkly. For me this was the evening’s real discovery, not so much for what it was as for what it promised.
Michael White, The Independent on Sunday, 12 January 1997
Hayes is still just 23, but in his Viscid he already exhibits a remarkably accomplished grasp of technique and an original ear for content. Played with full commitment by the Brunel players, this sinuous work created a fascinating musical representation of its title, full of note-bending and microtones of youthful vitality.
Matthew Rye, The Daily Telegraph 11 January 1997
The singly movement, Viscid, by 23-year-old Morgan Hayes, is a poetic flow of often quarter-tonal melodic ideas, thickening and thinning, underpinned by more solid harmony, inflected by prepared piano and tuned percussion, and coming to a sudden, but satisfying, halt.
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 12 January 1997
The new work was Viscid, by the 23-year-old Morgan Hayes – a great title and a promising piece, unfolding tangled skeins of melody over dark block chords…
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 7 January 1997