To break the winter cold

by Matthew Whittall

Empty sheet

Matthew Whittall

To break the winter cold

Music Finland


Some of my most vivid childhood memories are those associated with the winters in the Eastern Townships region of Québec, where I grew up. Skiing across snow-muted landscapes, the profound, echoing stillness of winter nights and the play of snowfall are images which I still carry. Especially evocative was the intensely cold wind, tearing across the farming plains, making it painful to draw a breath, yet somehow a bracing reminder of being alive. I was always struck at how the outer world was reflected by the people around me by a gradual drawing inward, a state broken only by the comforting presence of others and, later in the season, the booming sound of ice breaking on the lakes and rivers, and the pale rays of the sun finally bringing warmth. It is this narrative which informs To break the winter cold, a rhapsodic work in which the piano becomes landscape and viewer, where constantly whirling figurations and buffeting windlike gestures slowly coalesce into a serene meditation, and are transformed at the end into an aural change of seasons. © Matthew Whittall




Works for Solo Instrument


Emil Holmström, piano, Helsinki, December 9, 2003.

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