Richard Whalley’s time teaching at the ARAM-Poitou Composition Masterclass in summer 2019 included performances of Lachenmann’s Guero (piano solo), Shostakovich’s Piano Trio no. 2 (Eric Robberecht violin, Antoine Payen cello) and the world premiere of ‘Les Adieux‘ for violin and piano, in Église Saint-Pierre-ès-liens, Cissé (Eric Robberecht violin, Richard Whalley piano) on 13th August.
‘Les Adieux’ is the composer’s response to the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union, and is a celebration of the multiculturalism and interconnectedness of the countries of the European Union. Fragments of national anthems are interweaved creating a complex and pulsating polyrhythmic musical landscape. As an example, the extract above shows a variant of the Luxembourg national anthem in the right hand of the piano, the Irish one emerging in the left hand, and a transition from an extended melody into pulsating patterns on the violin. The final note of this piece is to be played con vibrato if the UK is still in the EU, senza vibrato if not. In this performance it was played con vibrato.