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For Solo Oboe D'amore with Alto Flute (piccolo), Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, string quintet. Bassoon and Clarinet also play guiro, claves and shakers.

Written in 2018 for oboist Emily Pailthorpe and the St. Endellion Festival orchestra and premiered in 2019 at St. Kew church.


Programme Note:

The inspiration for The Enchanted Forest came from a painting of the same name, painted by my mother, Marion Aldis when she was in her early 20s. The cubist inspired work uses muted shades to depict a shadowy forest out of which emerges a knight on horseback. I had decided to make my own version of the work in music when the dedicatee, Emily Pailthorpe, saw the work hanging in my kitchen and was enthralled by it.

The choice of instrumentation echoes the dark colours of the painting; solo Oboe D’Amore, alto flute, bass clarinet and bassoon, a string quartet augmented by double bass with simple percussion, played by the wind players, adding to the texture and representing the glimmer of the knight’s armour, or perhaps the enchantment of the forest.

The work begins with a soundscape which might evoke images of scuttling in a dark forest undergrowth. I use quarter tones in my work, which enhance harmonic possibilities, leading to a subtly shifting harmonic tapestry. The solo oboe D’Amore breaks out of this texture into a melodic section, enticing the ensemble into the melody and ultimately leading to unison gathering and a D’Amore cadenza. The next section uses a rhythmic ostinato as a basis for a dance in which the D’Amore once again acts as seducer, gradually leading the ensemble into the dance. The harmony and melody employs elements of the Turkish Makam, a system of modes that I find fascinating. The finale section is a night-scape, at times intimidating, at times sensual, ultimately leading to the seductress - the D’Amore - finding herself alone.

The Enchanted Forest

  • Digital download in PDF format including score and parts.

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