Cave Paintings

Cave Paintings


Click the links below to see and hear each movement.

1. Distant Rain
2. Random Breezes
3. Cold Wall
4. Driftwood
5. Eastern Rocks

SKU: FM1163 Category:


Cave Paintings (2002) is a five movement work for alto sax and piano, written for the very talented Adam Caird and Charlotte Bradburn, known collectively as Ephyra. Based around my time living on the Isles of Scilly, the work attempts to capture snapshots of the environment. The collective title is inspired not just from the ancient humans sharing the stories of their life and environment through painting on the walls of caves, but also from my own experience of taking note rubbings from a cave wall for one of the movements in this set of pieces. Cave Paintings is written as a duet for alto saxophone and piano rather than a piece for a soloist with piano accompaniment.
Distant Rain – This movement is inspired by patterns on the wall of a cave and includes notes created from wax cave rubbings on manuscript giving rise to the complex metric changes in the movement. As I was creating the wax rubbings, rain began to fall outside – hence the title.
Random Breezes – This movement uses extended techniques for the piano – the effect should produce an ethereal ‘haze’ of sound to imitate a breeze. Both performers are at liberty to take their time over the phrases but it is essential that they work carefully together to ensure the music remains coherent throughout. Inspired by the breezes that come through the channel between Tresco and Bryher islands on a clear day in summer.
Cold Wall – This work is inspired by the St. Mary’s harbour wall that would often take a pounding. The waves would seem to build, hitting the wall and sending water in all directions, creating spray, swirling patterns and streams in the process.
Driftwood – This work has a jazz/blues feel to it. I found that collecting pieces of driftwood on all the islands both fascinating and quite relaxing. The music in this piece is intended as a conversation between friends as they share the activity. Eastern Rocks – I was working on St. Martin’s island one Wednesday in December and it became apparent that the boat I thought was going to take me home, was not going to materialise. One of the islanders offered to take me back to St. Mary’s on his high-powered one seater rib. Wearing a life jacket and holding onto the metal bar attached to the seat we set off at high speed. Zipping between some of the outlying rocks and tiny islands on a cold damp December afternoon with an active sea, was one of the most exciting taxi trips home I have ever experienced. The calm bit in the middle of this movement is where the boat had to slow down between some tricky, rocky outcrops which also partly sheltered us before we picked up speed once more.
Cave Paintings was recorded in Canada in 2002 for Ephyra’s debut CD, Modern Standards.

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