This Midnight Hour

Anna Clyne

Born 1980

Music has the incredible ability to create an atmosphere and transport the listener to another place and time. This is what tonight’s program is all about.

The concert opens with English composer Anna Clyne’s This Midnight Hour (2015). The single-movement work transports the listener into a film noir with its unsettling tones. The high notes of the piccolo and scraping sounds of the trombones and tubas accompany the sound of a small, suspended cymbal rubbed with a violin bow to create a sound similar to tinnitus—it’s spine-tingling! To make things even stranger, the cello section is intentionally dissonant. Yikes!

The piece takes a wild trajectory, with timpani and enigmatic sounds that come on suddenly before disappearing again into the silence. Then a Parisian waltz emerges, introducing a melancholic and peaceful melody from the principal trumpet, like the calm after the storm.

Born in London in 1908, Anna Clyne has always known that she would dedicate her life to composing. She wrote works for piano and flute at the age of 7. Music has always been a vehicle for her to express strong emotions, which is particularly apparent in This Midnight Hour. In the score, she writes: “Whilst it is not intended to depict a specific narrative, my intention is that it will evoke a visual journey for the listener.”

Émilie Lesage