Vic Hoyland

Beyond Fox-hunting

In transit

David Osmond-Smith, The Musical Times, July 1997

Some composers treat their materials as objects of passion – enjoyed but then abandoned once the intensity of focus that composition demands has dissipated. But it is perhaps more often the case (even with the most ruthless of compositional roués) that those materials return to demand further expenditure of attention and energy. So it is in this instance. In 1983 Vic wrote a piece for the Endymion Ensemble which he called Fox (after a painting of the same name by Braque, though inevitably resonances of guileful predation proliferate from such a title). A decade later, finding himself encouraged to consider producing a larger-scale orchestral piece (originally intended for the Proms) he returned to that moment of peremptory closure which allows to declare any work ‘finished’, and allowed frozen potentials to reactivate. Although Hoyland’s new work is not the first in its chain of further consequences it is his most substantial. Its title acknowledges, or perhaps slightly subverts its origins.