Hidden Steps was written in March 2012 for a mixed octet of players from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and premiered at the Guildhall School as part of the Brett Dean Total Immersion Day.
When planning this piece, I got a simple progression of two three-note chords stuck in my head that I just didn’t seem to be able to break away from. While I began by sketching other ideas, I was continually drawn back to these two chords until eventually I gave in and decided to make the whole piece about different ways or combining and expressing the relationship between them. The initial bustling texture passes pitches around the ensemble before longer, more extended lines begin to emerge. These fast-moving figurations and slower chorales are played off against each other, with various instruments taking solos, before the texture thins out to solo piccolo. The two chords move downwards in a sequence before the music briefly and finally breaks out of this material into a kind of irregular and frantic dance.
Many thanks to all the fantastic musicians – you were brilliant and a pleasure to work with!