Edward Rushton L'An Mil (1999)
For violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano
It is the night of 31 December, 999. Rudolf Glaber sits alone in his cell chronicling the portents and catastrophes that herald the millenium: 1000 years after the birth of Christ, when, according to the prophesies of St John the Apostle, the Antichrist will be let loose to spread destruction over the face of all mankind and the world will end. He reports comets, an ominous whale, natural disasters, epidemics, wars, famines and cannibalism, while the stormy night rages outside, battering on the doors of the monastery. He writes on, and suddenly it is morning. The sun rises, the birds sing. The world has not ended. Christendom breathes a sigh of relief.
“It was as if the whole world were shaking itself free, shrugging of the burden of the past, and cladding itself everywhere in a white mantle of churches.”
© Edward Rushton
L’An Mil was commissioned by the Schubert Ensemble with funds generously donated by John Studzinski. It was first performed by the Schubert Ensemble at the Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London on 24th February 2000.