0-2-0-1(=contrabsn) / 2-0-0-0 / 4-4-3-2-1
Commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra
First performance by Richard Tognetti and Julian Shevlin (violins), Cameron Retchford (cello), Australian Chamber Orchestra conducted by the composer, Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney, 23 July 1993
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . .
Having invoked these lines of Yeats in his new work, The Widening Gyre, for two solo violins, solo cello and chamber orchestra, it was tempting fate, possibly, for the composer to conduct the first performance himself.
But at Friday's premiere, the centre seemed to hold pretty well, nothing obvious fell apart, and the work itself struck me as one of Ford's most successful pieces to date. What was particularly effective, I thought, was the rugged individuality of the instrumental colouring, particularly in the middle and latter parts. With a hint of ritual, some of the passages were reminiscent of the English composer Birtwistle, of whose music Ford was such a committed advocate in the first concert in this series.
Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald