Sudden Squall, Sudden Shadow was inspired by two contrasting images in a very wintry Haiku by the Japanese poet, Buson: a sudden squall of snow or sleet and a bird by the water which the poet describes, rather elusively, as turning white. I was interested in the way I could represent the juxtaposition of contrasting images inherent in the Japanese poetic form in a musical structure.
The structural ideas of the poem were as important as the wintry imagery. Before I begin writing a piece, I like to have a clear structural framework in place, and I spend a lot of time working on ideas before I even get to the manuscript paper stage.
The contrasting images in the poem are reflected in swift and dramatic changes in the music. The piece is colourful, bright and dramatic, with the aim being to grab the attention of the listener from the opening notes.
David Knotts/Elizabeth Winters