Grace of Silence
Composer: Dame Evelyn Glennie
Instrument: Vibraphone and Piano
Performed and recorded in isolation during lockdown by Harriet Riley (Vibraphone) and Paul Israel (Piano) from The Bristol Ensemble
Completed on 17th April 2020, Grace of Silence was written in response to a request from Sound World, an organization based in the South of England, to help support local professional musicians’ livelihoods during the first lockdown brought on by covid-19.
This global pandemic brought devastation to many industries including the music world. Lockdown meant that musicians could not travel to perform. This piece is in response to the dramatic changes many of us experienced during lockdown.
The incessant repetitive pattern from the piano depicts a monotonous motif of time being stagnant and going nowhere. The vibraphone tries to bring hope with the ebb and flow of its quasi melodic patterns. The whole improvised section is a reminder of how life was pre-pandemic – full of spring and joy, lots of movement and life until it too gradually becomes more distorted and fragmented, reminding us of the dark cloud the pandemic had imposed on us. The piece ends in such a way that there is a question mark - uncertainty. We had no idea how we would all emerge from this situation or for how long it may take. We were literally suspended.
Dame Evelyn Glennie
Vibraphone and Piano
About the composer +
Dame Evelyn Glennie is the first person in history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest orchestras, conductors and artists. Evelyn paved the way for orchestras globally to feature percussion concerti when she played the first percussion concerto in the history of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 1992. Evelyn has commissioned over 200 new pieces for solo percussion from many of the world’s most eminent composers to vastly expand the percussion repertoire. She regularly provides masterclasses and consultations to inspire the next generation of musicians. The film ‘Touch the Sound’ and her enlightening TED speech remain key testimonies to her innovative approach to sound-creation.
Leading 1000 drummers, Evelyn had the honour of a prominent role in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Evelyn was awarded an OBE in 1993 and now has over 100 international awards, including the Polar Music Prize and the Companion of Honour. She was recently appointed the first female President of Help Musicians, only the third person to hold the title since Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Evelyn is currently creating The Evelyn Glennie Collection with a vision to open a centre that embodies her mission to Teach the World to Listen. She aims to ‘improve communication and social cohesion by encouraging everyone to discover new ways of listening as proven in her book ‘Listen World!’. We want to inspire, to create, to engage and to empower’.
Artist: Johan Peijnenburg
Site: NiO Photography
Photo: Jim Callaghan
Engraving: CPH Engraving
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition SVITZER