Maria Grenfell

Welcome to the website of Maria Grenfell, composer. 

A feather of blue

A Feather of Blue takes its title from a phrase in a poem called “A View From A Window” by New Zealand writer Kevin Ireland.  I have always admired the wry humour and brightness of Kevin Ireland’s writing and many years ago set three of his poems for soprano and mixed ensemble.  As a kind gesture Mr Ireland sent me a copy of his book of poems “Skinning A Fish”, and I was particularly struck by the imagery of colours, flowers, feathers and birds in this poem, which illustrates rain pouring down a window pane and giving way to a burst of sunshine after a storm.  The piece uses a melody that I derived from a chant and originally used in an earlier piece but felt it was more suited to the piano trio combination in this work.  The expansive melody appears in a somewhat fragmented form at first, giving way to a livelier section where the cello plays guitar-like chords alongside an isorhythmic exchange between violin and piano. The music builds up to a virtuosic climax before sighing with relief and a return to the opening textures. A Feather of Blue was commissioned in 2000 by the New Zealand Trio, and is recorded on their album “Spark”.

Instrumentation: violin, cello, piano