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Cheryl Frances-Hoad

Publisher: Chester Music

Tales of the Invisible (2019)
Commissioned by the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts. First performed by Rozenn Le Trionnaire (clarinet) and the Albion Quartet on 24th August 2019 at St Andrew's Church, Presteigne.
Chester Music Ltd
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Year Composed
14 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Programme Note
Cheryl Frances-Hoad Tales of the Invisible (2019)
Commissioned by the Presteigne Festival and premiered at St. Andrew's Church, Presteigne on 24th August 2019 by Rozenn Le Trionnaire and The Albion Quartet.

When looking for ideas to spark my imagination for Tales of the Invisible, I thought back to an event at the 2017 Presteigne Festival where writer Nicholas Murray introduced his new book Crossings:

“Part travel book, part personal journey, part meditation on the meaning of borders, literal and metaphorical, Crossings is also rooted in the author’s thirty-year residence in the Radnor Valley in the border country of Mid-Wales.”

​This piece, whilst not ‘about’ anything, takes inspiration from the chapters of Murray's book that explore the borders between busyness and peace, sanity and madness, night and day, the borders within one's own self, and of course, the borders between countries. I also looked to a book referenced in Murray's writing: A Short Border Handbook by Gazmend Kapllani, which tells the story of the author’s perilous crossing over the mountains of Albania to “the-world-beyond-borders—Greece, whose twinkling electric lights seemed to offer freedom, riches and love”.

​Tales of the Invisible is in three movements: ‘Andante’, ‘Largo espressivo’ and ‘Allegro Scherzando’. The title is taken from the prologue of Kapllani's book, which states that “tales of the invisible, psychological borders experiences in a foreign country rarely reach a conclusion...”

© Cheryl Frances-Hoad, 2019

  • 02 APR 2020
    New Paths Music
    Toll Gavel United Church / Beverley / UK
    John Slack, clarinet / Jamie Campbell, violin 1 / Hannah Dawson, violin 2 / Simon Tandree, viola / Cara Berridge, cello

★★★★ Far from any basking in the collegiate warmth of Mozart and Brahms’s clarinet quintets, Frances-Hoad’s has the chill of unspoken hostility as well as a certain humanity. It should prove a good foil for the classic works.
Rian Evans, The Guardian,26/08/2019
Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s impressive clarinet quintet, Tales of the Invisible (the title after Gazmend Kapllani). The work’s stimulus came from Nicholas Murray’s meditative travel book, Crossings, exploring personal boundaries between sanity and madness, night and day, as well as geographical borders. The three movements evolve from unearthly string murmurings and a benign clarinet through to an uneasy accommodation between the two protagonists, variously troubled and calm, a nomadic harmonic language allied to a battleship-grey background, resolution kept at bay. Played with assurance and penetrating insight, Frances-Hoad’s enigmatic piece bewitches and bewilders.
David Truslove, Classical Source,24/08/2019
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