Falling received second place in the O/Modernt 2019 composition award.
Falling takes both concrete and abstract inspiration from Beethoven’s symphony No. 3, and is based, loosely, on the exposition and development sections of the first movement of the symphony. The exposition is, in itself, a masterpiece. It is full of motifs, is rhythmically and harmonically dense and has an unimpeachable internal drive. These ideas have filtered into my piano quintet. I aimed to create something that was constantly shifting, evolving and stretching and that was never grounded in one place for too long. The musical ideas have also, in part, been taken from Beethoven. The opening motif in the Eroica symphony is hidden throughout Falling and has directly influenced the rising major and minor thirds in the very first phrase played by the strings. There is also a direct quotation of one of the sforzando chords from the development section of the first movement in the last part of my ‘exposition’.
In a more abstract sense, this piece looks at the gradual decline in Beethoven’s health. Whilst there is repetition of a large part of the music in my piece, the repetition is not true. The second time the music appears, it is missing components, is subdued and more distant. As well as this, everything in the last section of Falling is designed to get further away from the listener. The pianist uses the soft pedal and the strings play with mutes. The world of the piece, like Beethoven’s world towards the end of his life, is compressing.