Variations from the Golden Mountain was commissioned by Wigmore Hall with the partial support of André Hoffmann, president of the Fondation Hoffman, a Swiss grant making foundation. It was first performed by Nicolas Hodges at Wigmore Hall, London on 14 September 2014. The title hints at the work’s starting point; the “Golden Mountain” is the Goldberg, and it was from Bach’s monumental set of variations that Birtwistle got the idea of linking a series of short, self-contained episodes into a more substantial musical whole. Variations is introspective and essentially a slow movement, though one with flashes of virtuoso brilliance.
Duration: 9½ minutes
Gigue Machine was commissioned by SWR Stuttgart, Carnegie Hall and Cal Performances, for Nicolas Hodges. It was first performed by Nicolas Hodges at Theaterhaus, Stuttgart, Germany on 12 February 2012. It is a predominantly fast, extrovert and rhythmically propulsive piece comprising ostinatos, snatches of curling melody and brilliant keyboard clockworks.
Duration: 10 minutes