Commissioned by the Australia Ensemble to mark its 30th birthday
First performance by the Australia Ensemble, Sir John Clancy Auditorium, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 September 2009
This piece, for piccolo, bass clarinet, piano and string quartet, was commissioned by the Australia Ensemble to mark its 30th birthday. Seven pieces were commissioned by the ensemble that year, each to showcase one of its players. I was fortunate to be allocated violist, Irina Morozova. The music re-imagines the closing passage of my Symphony, composed the previous year. The title is from Swinburne’s ‘Atalanta’: When the hounds of spring are on winter’s traces, The mother of months in meadow or plain Fills the shadows and windy places With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain.
The sparse textures of Andrew Ford's melancholy On Winter's Traces, the most substantial of the seven miniatures, transported the audience to a different world altogether. Ford also used the full forces of the ensemble, but with much finely nuanced orchestration, particularly the wan sound of the piccolo in its low register. However, in this work the distinctive timbre of the viola was the star of the show, and the performance featured some wonderfully heartfelt solo playing from the work's dedicatee, Irina Morozova. This was the longest and most serious of the seven miniatures and I was left wanting more.
Geoffrey Gartner, Resonate
The viola solo (Irina Morozova) in Andrew Ford's On Winter's Traces became increasingly dark with spare notes of accompaniment.
Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald