Judith Weir studied composition with John Tavener, Robin Holloway and Gunther Schuller. On leaving Cambridge University in 1976 she taught in England and Scotland, and in the mid-1990s became Associate Composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Artistic Director of Spitalfields Festival. She was a Visiting Professor at Princeton (2001) Harvard (2004) and Cardiff (2006-13) and in 2014 was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music. In 2015 she became Associate Composer to the BBC Singers. (photo: Suzanne Jansen)
Day Break Shadows Flee, written for pianist Ben Grosvenor, is a Two-Part Invention, a piano solo composition in which the two hands work in close co-ordination but independently. My intention was generally to avoid using thick chords (although octaves and other clear sonorities are included) while allowing both the right and left-hand lines to be free, mobile and expressive. The treble and bass sectors of the keyboard are clearly contrasted and often widely separated.
In atmosphere and expression the music is another kind of two-part invention, contrasting bright, upwards-arching phrases (heard at the opening and evoking the arrival of light at the beginning of the day) with veiled, mysterious scurryings, suggesting the stranger, more nervous life lived at night and in the early morning.
Day Break Shadows Flee is around ten minutes in duration. It was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and received its world premiere at the BBC Proms 2014 on 1st September, Cadogan Hall, London performed by Ben Grosvenor.