In my Craft or Sullen Art – Goodison Quartet No.4

Composer: Huw Watkins (b. 1976)
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Composer: Huw Watkins (b. 1976)

Performance date: 05/07/2018

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 2007

Duration: 00:21:31

Recording Engineer: Ciaran Cullen, RTÉ

Instrumentation Category:Solo Voice

Instrumentation Other: 2vn, va, vc, ten

Artists: Mark Padmore - [tenor]
Elias Quartet (Sara Bitlloch, Donald Grant [violins], Simone van der Giessen [viola], Marie Bitlloch [cello]) - [quartet]

In my craft is part of a
series of new works for voice and string quartet commissioned by Nicholas and
Jane Goodison for performance at the Wigmore Hall. Mark Padmore sang the
premiere with Petersen Quartet in 2007. Other composers in this series have
included the Australian composer, Gordon Kerry, whose work included texts by
Heaney and Hopkins, and Peter Maxwell-Davies with a text by William Blake.


In my craft is a
one-movement work that unconventionally repeats the same Dylan Thomas two-verse
text in dramatically contrasted settings. The work is divided into an initial
strings-only Prelude, the first presentation of the poem, a strings-only
Interlude, the second extended version of the text and a final quartet Postlude.
Dylan Thomas’ two-verse poem is a meditation on the act of creation exercised in the still night when only the
moon rages and the lovers lie abed.


The Prelude has been
described as a shadowy interplay of
string arpeggios and lamenting chord progressions.
The Quartet creates the
atmosphere of the nocturnal poet in his rooftop garret struggling with his spindrift pages labouring by singing light – the poets and the
lovers the only people still awake. The first musical response to the poem is
relatively contained only once bursting out. The Interlude begins quietly,
pulling together the wisps of melody before a gradual increase in intensity
leads to the singer looking again at his sullen
sullen here is more
lonesome than morose, though they can seem the same to an outsider. The second
setting of the words dwells more obsessively, even angrily, on parts of the
text, poet and singer are asking why, why lock yourself away to write and to
compose for no praise or wages nor
any recognition. The Postlude is almost tender, a sad beauty as the music dies