chapter  6
20 Pages

Asylum gained?

The ordering and content of the first three movements of Asyla invite comparison with typical symphonic norms, and with it the anticipation of a finale that incorporates particular summative musical procedures. The three statements of the choral theme, in which the first two are characterised by increasing rhythmic dislocation, and the third by a 'coming together' of primary material and tonal perspectives offers a simple progression towards some form of musical and extramusical resolution that would in turn suggest an underlying narrative purpose – a 'quest for safety', to adapt Griffiths's characterisation of Asyla. Equally, it is highly tempting to equate passages manifesting a sense of acoustic order with the dual implications of shelter and repression afforded by the notion of 'asylum'. Far from being a case of 'asylum gained', the ending of the work leaves us pausing at the asylum gate.