Shifting Thresholds

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


This work was premiered by Gemini in Manchester in December 2016; the submitted recording is from their CD of Grange’s music, Homage, part-funded by the RVW Trust. It is published by Edition Peters.

The composition’s main objective was to engage musically with the literary concept of stream of consciousness (e.g. in Dujardin, Joyce and Beckett), thereby creating a new literary perspective on Wagner’s concept of ‘endless melody’ (explored hitherto only in instrumental terms, e.g. Rihm, Viola Concerto, Gesungene Zeit). It focused on Beckett’s novel Malone Dies, addressing four of the book’s principal features:
1.Contrasts between stream of consciousness episodes and stories told by the protagonist, reflected in the alternation between sections of linear writing making extensive use of klangfarbenmelodie and episodes that unfold in different ways;
2.The novel’s structural use of disjunction, which results in gaps in the narrative, reflected in the continuity breaks created by the work’s four-movement structure;
3.The role of memory, which informed a design in which movements I, II and III are all recapitulated in movement IV. The episodes in movement IV also extend five-fold the structural isorhythmic technique developed in the composer’s piano trio, Homage to Chagall (explained in Reeves, ‘Music as Transition’ (2006)) to encompass a 30-minute span;
4.Beckett’s use of epanorthosis (a rhetorical figure comprising emphatic self-correction through immediately replacing a preceding word; see Wasser, ‘From Figure to Fissure’ (2011)), translated musically into varied repetition with changes of relationship and function, enabling both cyclical and teleological development.
This last technique in particular established epanarthosis as a compositional tool (developed by the composer in subsequent works) and initiated a further stage in the composer’s focus on dialogues between the arts, in this case using the influence of Wagner on writers to develop further musical techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherEdition Peters Group
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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