Work Details

10 minutes

Commissioned by Britten Sinfonia and Wigmore Hall.


Clarinet, bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola & cello

Programme Note

Borderland refers to the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, an often surreal sensation when your body is asleep but your mind is still semi-active, a half-dream state. This can manifest in different ways, depending on the person and situation but often involves visual and auditory hallucinations. Personally I tend to experience repetitive patterns, either entirely abstract or relating to an experience from the preceding hours - a tune, an image from a film, words from a song. As with hypnosis, in this state of threshold consciousness I also find myself receptive to external influences, for example my mind might latch onto the sound of a clock, passing cars, birdsong, or even my breathing or heartbeat. These sounds that normally pass unnoticed can take on a whole new intensity and depth.

The music starts with a hazy, intangible glow emanating from a distant source – a repeating rhythmic cell. Gradually the source becomes increasingly present and dominant, intensifying and embellishing, before again being masked by sleep.

Past Performances

12 November 2011
Corn Exchange, Brighton
Britten Sinfonia

15 November 2011
West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
Britten Sinfonia

16 November 2011
Wigmore Hall, London
Britten Sinfonia

18 November 2011
The Assembly Hall, Norwich
Britten Sinfonia