Date(s) - 27/07/2021
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Written during the heart of lockdown last year, Zoë’s wild distortion piece for Riot Ensemble “Tór” (for amplified bass clarinet, double bass and piano) receives its first airing at the Wigmore Hall.
“RIOT” backwards is “TOÍR”, an old Irish word also spelt “Tór,” which derives from the Old Norse god Þórr, the macho, hammer-wielding thunder god associated with lightning, storms, strength, the protection of mankind and also healing and fertility. The word can also mean “a steep rocky height” (as in Glastonbury’s Tor), “towering warrior”, “battle pursuit” and “Tower”. A rich collection of associations which immediately brought to mind the Tower card of the tarot deck with it’s traditional imagery of castle-like edifices blown apart by immense, fiery, supernatural forces, representing the destruction of old, outmoded structures.
Combined with the phenomenal virtuosity of Riot ensemble’s players, these images inspired me to have a go at making a good old distortion-fuelled rock-up, filled with the wonderful animal-like growls and snarls that these fantastic instruments can make, combined with some electronic flame-throwers. Amidst the burning rubble of destruction, the Tower card also always reveals a gentle light in the distant horizon, shedding dawn rays over the smouldering rubble, indicating a new consciousness, a lighter way of being.
And if this isn’t a fitting metaphor for current times, I don’t know what is. My enormous thanks to PRS for Music and Riot Ensemble for their generosity and dedication to supporting composers during tough times, and giving me this wonderful chance to splash about in a fun electro-acoustic paint box.