through woods in riot 
through woods in riot
instrumentation – 2 trumpets in Bb , tenor trombone and bass trombone. circa 10 minutes in duration.
notes: The instrumentalists play independently of each other. Music is cued to begin only or at various points throughout the work. There is no ‘fixed’ synchronisation between the instrumentalists. Whilst the relationship of each instrument is flexibly placed against its neighbour, care has been taken to calculate potential outcomes of coincidence and variability. To this end it is vital that metronome markings are adhered to as accurately as possible although the composer appreciates that it is the various interpretations and practicalities inherent in the realisation of tempi that contribute to the richly unique nature and interplay of each performance.
There is only one instruction to the players; to begin when indicated and play until their material is completed. Compositional material is derived from a series of distant variations that unify all sections with thematic landmarks. Thematic material is audible throughout the piece, bringing cohesion and structure to the work. All the instrumental roles are written to a high degree of virtuosity and most contain extended techniques and quarter-tones. The music itself forms dense, highly complex and constantly changing relationships that are frequently wild and sometimes beautiful.
The score and parts I have not produced a score for through woods in riot; difficulties and variables associated with displaying the musical material in vertical alignment as represented in real time are considerable. Each performance will yield somewhat different results, interplays, gestural and harmonic references and outcomes. As a result, the material contained within the piece can only be read via the instrumental parts. Consequently there is no definitive performance of the piece. through woods in riot can only be realised through performance [as opposed to comprehended by reading through a score]; this is the nature of the music – it has to be experienced to be ‘known’.
A note about the title: The title is drawn from the wonderful romantic poem ‘On Wenlock Edge’ by A E Housman, and from this verse in particular: “There, like the wind through woods in riot, Through him the gale of life blew high; The tree of man was never quiet: Then ’twas the Roman, now ’tis I.” through woods in riot is in no way a tone poem or romantic, impressionistic or programmatic representation of ‘On Wenlock Edge’ itself; rather, the resonances of chaos, anger, unrest and turmoil along with the timelessly unchanging nature of mankind that feature are all aspects that could be perceived as resonances in the tumultuous nature of this restless, constantly morphing music.