Excavations was written in response to the Manchester Camerata Young Composers’ Project, calling for works inspired by Henry Purcell’s Fantazias to mark the 350-year anniversary of his birth. I arrived at the music after close study of these works, in particular the 4-part Fantazia in A minor (Z. 740). Some of the 17th-Century harmonic and melodic materials can be found refracted or as ghostly shadows of themselves, but the fundamental connection is that of energy. In a sense, this is an attempt to translate or explain Purcell’s music through the combined filters of history and my mind – a rendering of my 21st-Century reaction to an ancient music.
An earlier version of this piece was workshopped by the Manchester Camerata and Clark Rundell on October 2nd 2008 in Studio 6 at the RNCM. This was invaluable during the subsequent revision process.