Piers Hellawell's A White Room for Piano Quartet.
a white room was the second short piece to be commissioned by the Schubert Ensemble for Chamber Music 2000. It was written in spring of 1999, during the composition of Inside Story, a double concerto for the 1999 BBC Proms. a white room complements its predecessor in that it is a hushed scherzo rather than a slow aria; the latter type was by 1999 becoming rather prevalent among Chamber Music 2000 commissions, and the Schubert Ensemble suggested that I tackle the challenge of writing 'easy' fast music. It turned out to be a challenge indeed; my solution to creating rapid movement using players of unknown technique was to employ ostinato repetition of simple fragments, largely using open strings - materials of a sort that in any case feature in my wider musical language. In addition I supplemented the rhythmic drive by percussive drumming on piano and cello (also aspects typical of me).
These features add up to a sound picture in which rhythmic momentum predominates over line - though a chorale fragment persistently tries to establish itself. The title a white room indicates that this piece is an uncluttered space, a location in sound perhaps free of the more exotic images in Hall Of Mirrors. - Piers Hellawell
Commission made possible by Keith Nimmo.