For Piano Trio (9″)
“Depression is also smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can’t exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.” Matt Haig.
‘Clouds’ is constructed within the traditional ‘arch-shape’ mould; a singular movement that comprises several sections of varying moods and tempos. However, it is also a somewhat personal, and human, journey through a depressed state of mind. Opening with a dark and intense harmonic sequence by way of a gently undulating piano motif, joined later by the pleading and expressive voices of the cello and violin, at first the sky is dark; the clouds are thick, vast, heavy and suffocating. As the piece progresses, there is further melodic development and increasing rhythmic interest as the clouds roll past and life continues to move forwards.
This eventually gives away to a more energetic, pulsing and almost triumphant theme, articulated first through heavy octave motifs from the piano against accompanying pizzicato movement from the strings. But this energy is ‘false’ energy and gradually, as this theme builds, there are more frequent interjections of the first, pleading cantabile theme, constantly shifting through various harmonies. Eventually, this builds to a climactic breaking point with the opening theme becoming more fragmented in the strings. However, instead of building to further darkness, here the clouds finally lift and there is a brief moment of tranquillity, peace and stillness as blue skies are finally in view, and there is a new weightless energy. Finally, a more major tonality takes hold here with gently undulating triplet figures in the piano part, beneath a simple and tender melody in the cello and violin parts.
This moment of repose is brief, however, and soon the dark clouds begin to drift across the sky once more. There is a return to the second major theme of the piece which, instead of building this time into something more energetic, eventually fragments and condenses into more uneasy harmony and a twisting duet between the violin and cello. Finally, we return once more to the heaviness of the very opening as the first, gently moving piano theme begins again, and the cello and violin present their melancholic melodies with some further harmonic development, before a final, more silent interpretation of the opening.