Uncoiling the River

A work for piano and orchestra, written for Clare by Kenneth Hesketh, Uncoiling the River explores how we perceive and experience time. Co-commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with support from the RVW Trust, it was performed with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (Martyn Brabbins) and the RLPO (Vasily Petrenko) in 2019 and 2020. Uncoiling the River was shortlisted for an Ivor Composer Award in 2019.

The title is both poetic and descriptive, outlining the formal plan the work follows; a ‘toccata’ figure is constantly bent and reconstituted, evolving through expansion and contraction alongside a number of strata that are juxtaposed or superimposed as the work unfolds. Uncoiling the River is 26 minutes long. Read the programme note, see an extract from the score and view instrumentation here.

“Time is the substance I am made of.
Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river;
it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.”

Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths

Audio extracts

World premiere with BBC NOW (Martyn Brabbins)

With the RLPO (Vasily Petrenko)

With the permission of BBC Radio 3 and the RLPO.