Colin Matthews Nowhere to hide (2013)
For piano trio
Berceuse. In memoriam Elliott Carter
Scherzino. Allegro molto
Titles are rarely easy to come by, and I was reluctant to use the conventional but prosaic ‘Piano Trio’ for this work; so when the chance remark to John Adams about the problems of writing piano trios met with the response, ‘Nowhere to hide’, I seized gratefully on his words.
It is no easy ensemble to write for, in the first place because John Adams is quite right; but also because there is such a distinguished body of work already in existence to which it is better not to listen while writing another one. What was not necessarily going to be but became the first movement took me at least three times as long to write as I had expected. And I was not entirely sure of the direction that the rest of the work was going to take when the news of Elliott Carter’s death in November 2012 made me put the trio aside and write a little Berceuse for piano in his memory.
This unanticipated music became the basis of the second movement, and also influenced the mood of the fourth. The third movement takes over the brief scherzo-like episodes from the rather elaborate structure of the first movement (which is as long as the other three movements combined) to provide a lightning-fast ‘Scherzino’.
© Colin Matthews
‘Nowhere to Hide’ was commissioned by the Schubert Ensemble for its 30th Anniversary with funds gratefully received from the John S Cohen Foundation, the Steel Charitable Trust, the PRS for Music Foundation and the Schubert Ensemble Trust. It was first performed by the Schubert Ensemble at the Cheltenham International Music Festival on July 5th 2013.