Stuart MacRae: One Man in His Time
Movement I: Moon
Movement II: Tuesday's Child
Movements III: The Lover (Ballad)
Movement IV: The Bubble Reputation
Movement V: Veneratio/Friday
Movement VI: Spectacles and Pouch …
Movement VII: Sunset/Rise - Violet
In the months leading up to the time when I began writing One Man in His Time, I met on a number of occasions with Michael Graham-Jones, who commissioned it, to discuss what form the piece might eventually take. It was on the way to one of these meetings that I came upon the idea of writing a string trio with 7 movements: one movement for each of the possible combinations of instruments (3 solos, 3 duos and 1 trio). I was also intrigued by the associations of the number 7: the colours of the spectrum, the days of the week (each of which has associated with it a planet, a god, a characteristic …) and most importantly for the purposes of our project, the seven ages of man, as expressed in Shakespeare's As you like it.
The seven movements of the piece share very little material; rather they are complementary character pieces which occasionally recall one another, but only in the guise of a remembered mood or a fleeting harmonic reference. The final movement, "sunset/rise - violet" does not attempt to draw conclusions about the end of life (in this respect differing from the Shakespeare) but rather invites the listeners to draw their own conclusions - the references to sunset and sunrise in the title refer to the violet skies which can signify either the end of one day or the beginning of another.