Intense quick dream of sentimental groups with people of all possible characters amidst all possible appearances
for string sextet
Programme note

Composed in late 2009, this piece took its inspiration from a short poem by E. E. Cummings, from his collection 73 Poems:

wild(at our first)beasts uttered human words
—our second coming made stones sing like birds—
but o the starhushed silence which our third’s

Like the poem, the piece explores three behavioural states, the first of which is loud and ferocious, the players attacking their open strings with brute force. Later, this develops into milder, more lyrical material, before finally yielding to sparse, faint harmonics. Rather than dividing the piece into three clear sections, these three states evolve and bleed into each other, their respective characters gradually taking shape, but ever in flux.

The title is a phrase found in Arthur Rimbaud's poem ‘Vigils’, from his well-known collection Illuminations; it describes perfectly both the universality and the drama i have sought to capture in the piece.


2 violins
2 violas
2 cellos