Ethnie Foulkes - The Grasshoppers (soprano, piano)

  • £5.99

Since the inception of nightmusic – the new-music concert series at St David’s Hall, Cardiff – Tŷ Cerdd has commissioned a short work by a Welsh composer for each event. Where possible, the works are published and recorded, and can be heard on Tŷ Cerdd’s Soundcloud.

The Grasshoppers by Ethnie Foulkes was first performed on March 28th 2023 by Ruby Hughes (soprano) and Huw Watkins (piano).

The composer writes:

The Grasshoppers for voice and piano is a setting of a poem by the same name. The poem was written by the composer and depicts the vice like grip and utter alienation caused by her severe anxiety and depression. These motifs are explored through pastoral description and uses the natural sounds of nature to create the feeling of unpleasant, erratic tension. This is painted musically through several themes which develop throughout the piece. At first the Grasshoppers are depicted as a flickering, natural energy using trill motifs. These quickly become distorted using extended piano techniques to create an entirely less welcoming buzzing. In addition to this, the vocal line slips through sentiments using whole tone and tritone harmonies. These have the effect of isolating the voice, creating a haunting sense of lack of control. In addition to this, the voice battles against heartbeats which become again more disturbed as the piece progresses. The work juxtaposes warmth and predictability, with a chaotic dystopian power, aiming to show how all-encompassing the grip of anxiety can be.

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