Hayes, Morgan: Shellac. Rental
Full score and instrumental material
Commissioned by the European Discoveries Festival
1st perf: Ian Pace (pf ), Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, Giordano Bellincampi (cond), Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer, London EC1, 17 November 1997
1st broadcast perf: Rolf Hind (pf ), Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, Giordano Bellincampi (cond), Danish Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen, 23 November 1997
Duration: 13 minutes
solo piano, fl/picc, ob/cor, cl in B flat/A/E flat/bass cl, bsn/cbsn, 2 hns, tpt, tbn, perc(2), hp, cel, 2 vlns, vla, vcl, db
When a passage of bright, glossy music intruded itself into the composition of an as yet unnamed work for pianist Rolf Hind and the Athelas Sinfonietta of Copenhagen, with it came the idea of shellac. Later, as the piece progressed, this arrival from the subconscious became rich in unexpected associations.
The origin of the lac itself, for example, a resin secreted by insects then made into thin, glossy plates, seemed reflected in frantic, restless textures for piano and percussion that underpinned that episode of shining, glittery music. Elsewhere, I thought of music of the past, recorded on shellac 78s, and its muffled, slightly frenzied quality of sound so different from the opulence of today’s CDs.
There is no actual programme to the music, or if there is, I’m not giving it away. Shellac also once served as an electrical insulation, but I want the energy of my piece to be discharged directly to the audience!
© Morgan Hayes
The densely packed textures of Shellac, a 13-minute movement for piano and large ensemble by 24-year-old Morgan Hayes – it was premiered by the Athelas Sinfonietta, Copenhagen under Giordano Bellincampi in the booming Church of Our most Holy Redeemer, EC1, as part of the European Discoveries festival – must be just as tricky, though the burden of notes certainly falls on the soloist. He – the ultra-deft Ian Pace standing in for Rolf Hind – has big solos to open and close the piece and near the end, each of a complexity bringing Hayes’s teacher Michael Finnissy to mind yet in a “languid” stretch of two-part writing also suggesting the rubato ease of a Chopin or Fauré. An engagingly classical use of repeat marks further qualifies the impression of modernist toughness and tautness made by this highly promising score.’
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 23 November 1997
‘In Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer has been laying host to another enterprising music festival of “European Discoveries”… On Monday I heard Copenhagen’s Athelas Sinfonietta, Denmark’s leading new-music ensemble, conducted by Giordano Bellincampi… They confirmed the excellent impression they made here last year… There were two world premieres… The festival itself commissioned Morgan Hayes’ Shellac, a spikey mini-piano-concerto with elaborate percussion. The virtuoso solo part had been learned at just three days’ notice by Ian Pace, but he rattled through it with complete conviction.’
David Murray, The Financial Times, 22 November 1997