Hayes, Morgan: Lucky’s Dream. Solo Violin
1st perf: Keisuke Okazaki, Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall, Tokyo, Japan, 22 April 2008
1st UK perf: Darragh Morgan, Schott Recital Room, Bauer & Hieber, London, 5 February 2009
Though the jagged figures and phrases of Lucky’s Dream by Morgan Hayes are unmistakably those of a contemporary musical expressionist, the shadow of Bach also falls on this work, inspired by the virtuosity of the young Japanese soloist Keisuke Okazaki and his playing of the E major Partita.
In fact, though ‘standard’ contemporary techniques are widely used in the piece – left-hand pizzicato, harmonics and microtones, all deployed in edgy, unpredictable rhythms – there is also a classical shape to the structure. In this two-part form, lasting around four minutes, the first section is reflective, dwelling on single notes, phantoms as it were of pitches that are subtly deflected through slow glissandi. Then a spectral dance ensues, delivered largely on plucked strings, ethereal, disembodied, strange.
The ‘Lucky’ in question is a character from Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, and Lucky’s Dream is a complementary work to the earlier, impassioned Lucky’s Speech (2006). The two items can stand alone or may be performed consecutively. Both are to be found on the recent all-Hayes CD released on the NMC label (NMC D163), which also features the composer’s 17-minute Violin Concerto as further evidence for his original approach to writing for the instrument.
A complementary work to Lucky’s Speech (2006) for violin, with which it may optionally be performed as a sequel, Lucky’s Dream grows out of one of the few calm moments in the earlier work inspired by a pivotal moment in Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot. Lucky’s Dream was composed for a recital given by Keisuke Okazaki which also included the E major Partita by Bach. This outstanding example of how a single melodic line might sustain a contrapuntal sense through the interplay of different registers and types of music inspired the composer to attempt his own realisation of such a texture in a style remote from Bach’s yet nonetheless indebted to it.
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