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A Persistent Illusion (a chemistry of music) by Julian Wagstaff

A Persistent Illusion - for clarinet, cello and piano (2011)

This piece was commissioned by the Royal Society of Chemistry* to celebrate International Year of Chemistry 2011 and has enjoyed numerous performances since, including at the Aberdour and Dalkeith (Midfest) festivals in 2014. A Persistent Illusion received its first performance at a most memorable and well attended concert given by Hebrides Ensemble in Edinburgh's Canongate Kirk on 12th December 2011, entitled 'A Chemistry of Music'. The performers were as follows:

Jean Johnson - Clarinet
Will Conway - Cello
Scott Mitchell - Piano

Click the 'Play' button below to listen to an excerpt from the third movement of the piece, recorded live at the premiere performance. This sound clip is made available by kind permission of the performers:

Click Here to read a review of the concert in the Scotsman newspaper.

Click Here to download the souvenir concert programme in PDF format.

Composer Julian Wagstaff writes about A Persistent Illusion:

"My brief in writing this piece was that it should celebrate the past, present and future of chemistry in Edinburgh and Southeast Scotland. The title refers to Einstein's observation that the distinction between past, present and future is merely a 'stubbornly persistent illusion'.

The third movement of the work derives from my workshops with school students and teachers at Balerno High School and Gracemount High School in Edinburgh. Participants were asked to produce note patterns on manuscript paper inspired by their knowledge of chemical structures and formulae, and everything in this movement is derived from these ideas."

The work will be released by Linn Records on a CD featuring Julian Wagstaff's chamber opera Breathe Freely on 15 October 2015.


*Edinburgh and SE Scotland local section