Hey all, I thought I'd put this up and see if anyone likes it. It's long been finished, recorded and released, so if you *don't* like it then we'll all just have to live with it, but I hope you do.
Some of my marketing blurb I wrote at the time:
"Hiraeth' is a Welsh word for homesickness - not only for a home you’ve left, but a home you cannot return to or never existed at all. Having moved house shortly before I began composing the work, and being prone to crippling nostalgia for places not just months but decades in my past, this concept of extreme homesickness immediately caught my attention. Thus Hiraeth became a tone poem for my old homes and haunts, trees and rivers - places I’ve walked and never will again.
Compositionally, Hiraeth is centred round a five-note theme first established (0.45) after the work’s ominous, divided low strings opening. At first played without harmonic support, bass and cello divisi are introduced before the theme’s darker four-note variant is introduced (1.12), both joining for the piece’s crescendo (4.38). A second, more romantic and mournful theme acts as a counter to the bitter triumph of the first, played initially by violas and cellos (1.52) and returned to later with double bass, cello and finally unison violin octaves (3.46). The piece closes as it opens, ending with a flourishing if slightly dissonant swell.
A highly tonal piece, the orchestration is appropriately traditional - themes often played in unison across octaves between either cellos and violas, or violins I & II, with the other sections providing harmonic support. To achieve the wide, lush sound I love in string music, these supporting sections are generally divided; tremolo is often used for texture in quieter moments, and themes are passed between sections to be explored and evolved."