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After writing the first seven bars of this work, a quite singular image came to mind: an extreme close-up view of a sparkly, delicately minuscule glasslike crystal – probably much like sugar. Beyond that point (after the first ten chords), what I wrote became less and less crystalline, and less saccharine too. Perhaps calling the piece “Sugar Crystal” wasn’t suitable for the work as a whole, but giving a title is a result of the organic nature of writing music – it still seems right to me.
Sugar Crystal is the fourth major work I have written for Anna McGregor – one per year since 2007. This piece was composed at her request, and is dedicated to her and the yet unknown string quartet who will give its first public performance. I would also like to thank Gretchen La Roche (clarinet), John Thomson and Juliet Ayre (violins), Peter Barber (viola), Robert Ibell (cello), Justus Rozemond (conductor), Gao Ping (tutor) and all participants at the 2010 Nelson Composers Workshop for contributing to the work’s development.
– Robbie Ellis
intermediate to advanced
dedicated to Anna McGregor and a yet unknown string quartet
Workshopped at the Nelson Composers Workshop with Gretchen La Roche (clarinet), John Thomson & Juliet Ayre (violins), Peter Barber (viola), Robert Ibell (cello) and Justus Rozemond (conductor)