Fenella Humphreys : The Four Seasons

Commission from Fenella Humphreys to write a piece for violin (Fenella Humphreys), accordion (Murray Grainger), double bass (Ben Griffiths) and percussion (George Barton). The new piece, Demeter’s Cry, links concertos Summer and Autumn by Vivaldi.

Demeter’s Cry is a fast, energetic piece that moves through the harrowing phases of fright, anger and grief. Taking the Greek myth of Persephone’s disappearance as its motivation, this relentless music accompanies a fruitless search.

The piece consists of three large, differently paced build-ups, each of which is abruptly cut off before reaching its anticipated climax. Eventually, the accordionist frustratedly breaks this incessant cycle with a manic, Xenakis-style cadenza. By way of a coda, the music returns to one of the interrupted slow builds before breathlessly racing towards a long-overdue, surprisingly sudden conclusion. This is rhythmically-driven music that makes use of repetitive gestures and disparate meters.

Premiere: 5 October 2020, Chiltern Arts Festival