John Croft- Ne l’aura che trema… for alto flute and electronics 2008
Premiere- 11/08 Cutting edge series, the Warehouse, London, Commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council
“After meeting the ancient poets and philosophers, Dante is guided from the first circle of hell, with its castle and its meadows, “forth from the quiet to the air that trembles”, into the second circle, where the excessively passionate are buffeted about in a “whirlwind of lovers” (as William Blake calls it). The title is thus drawn from the point at which the poet and his guide are crossing from the still, calm, Appoline world of Reason into the tempestuous, Dyonisian world of those who “subject reason to desire”; the trembling of the air is the first sign of the tempestuous world into which they are stepping. While not seeking to illustrate the scene, the piece exists on the border of these two worlds, stillness erupting into convulsions, which recede again into silence. But each also infects the other; the quiet sounds are disturbed by tremors, while the violent eruptions reveal moments of gentleness (just as Heraclitus, philosopher of fire, lives in the first circle, and the second is home to such noble souls as Tristan and Dido).
The piece follows the purist approach of my earlier Sonata for cello and live electronics, whereby soundfiles and score-following are forgone in favour of immediate response to the present sound. I have sought a sense of instrumental continuity between flute and electronic treatment while also allowing the resulting sounds to evoke the trembling air which sometimes envelops the player.”