from the direction it should depart

This trio was commissioned by Becky Steltzner, the first performance took place at the Baxter Concert hall with Becky Steltzner, clarinet, Farida Bacharova, violin, and François du Toit, piano.

The title and the inspiration for the structure of the work derives from a poem by South African poet Archie Swanson, who is the grandson of a former well-known Cape Town musician and composer, Walter Swanson. The poem is self-explanatory.

The work is symetrically arranged in 7 movements, pivoting round a short palindromic movement. The 6th movement is an exact retrograde of the strident, recitative-like 2nd movement. Retrogrades, however are deceptive. If a musical note is reversed, the attack of the note is still at the start, so that it is impossible to create a truly palindromic rhythmic structure. Our brains can only really perceive form in a forward direction. To add to the unsettled feeling, some of the movements have inconclusive endings.






Frank Barry and I wrote ‘Come, Colours Rise’ in 1995 in the wake of the euphoria following South Africa’s first democratic elections. It has become enormously popular in South Africa, being sung by dozens of choirs of different sizes and backgrounds. It has had many performances around the world.

Published by Theodore Presser Company


Quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass.

Commissioned by the Music Group of Manchester in 1992.

The London premiere was in the Purcell Room, South Bank in April 1992.

Comprehensive list of my compositions.