Piers Hellawell's Hall Of Mirrors for Piano Quartet.
Hall Of Mirrors was my first contribution to the Schubert Ensemble's unique initiative to bring practicable chamber music to young string players and pianists. It was written in summer of 1998, in the wake of my 'full-scale' piano quartet The Building Of Curves, itself a commission from the Schubert Ensemble, and was first performed at the Dartington Summer School. Hall Of Mirrors is also scored for piano quartet, although the viola part is playable by a second violin, and is thus scored in the treble clef.
At the suggestion of the Ensemble, I sought to provide an analogue of the larger work, a scaled-down expression that used materials clearly related to its parent. I believe that the success of this project relies in large part on its new pieces being genuinely representative of their composers, rather than mere exercises that provide a product. Hall Of Mirrors therefore tries to establish a similarly unsettled atmosphere to that of the second movement of The Building of Curves, and it uses the same open-string C/D ostinato for cello and nightmarish free glissandi for violin - both materials that can be impressively brought off by a player of limited virtuosity! Hall Of Mirrors was generously commissioned by Jane Ferguson. Its title indicates a reshaping of some features of the larger edifice, The Building of Curves. - Piers Hellawell