(2011/12) – Basset horn & Four Double basses
Apart from the basset horn’s distinctively plaintive and melancholy character, the main influence on this piece came from observing different kinds of vortices, such as watching whirlpools on the surface of a river, or being caught in sudden strong winds.
The double bass quartet is made up of two duos, separated by the central basset horn. The basset horn acts as a relatively still centre whilst the two bass duos approach a richness of texture by exploiting various playing techniques; the superimposition and ‘shadowing’ set up between the ‘basses; and of the timbral blend between basset horn and double bass.
Vortex was first performed at Duke’s Hall, June 2012, by Cosima Yu (basset horn), Felix Lashmar, Joseph Bentley, Vera Pereira and Mark O’Leary (double basses), conducted by the composer.