Binding the quiet (2010) - 10 minutes
Commissioned by Ensemble contemporain de Montréal +
for piccolo, clarinet (=bcl), bassoon, horn, percussion, piano, electric guitar, violin, viola and cello

Press
Christopher Mayo's Binding the quiet starts out in a brushed, pitchless soundscape of airy sounds and rustled paper. As it gradually accumulates more concrete surface detail, all derived from the same simple melodic line, rhythmic patterns begin to dominate, and the transformation is quick, total and delirious.
— Elissa Poole, The Globe and Mail (November 9, 2010)

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Quant à Christopher Mayo, il fait une musique robuste, vive, spirituelle, colorée mais jamais légère : son portrait tout craché.

[As for Christopher Mayo, his music is robust, lively, witty, colourful but never light: his spitting image.]
— Nicolas Gilbert, www.radio-canada.ca (November 8, 2010)
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La virtuosité d'une certaine jeune musique anglaise se mâtine chez Mayo (Binding the quiet) d'une attention toute particulière à l'exploration timbrale, particulièrement sensible en début de parcours, et la directionnalité formelle de cette quasi-toccate, dont on pressent assez rapidement l'objectif ultime, suit pourtant vers son apogée un chemin habilement sinueux et varié.

[In Mayo's work (Binding the quiet) the virtuosity of a certain young, English music is mixed with a particular attention to timbral exploration, particularly noticeable at the beginning of the work. The formal directionality of this quasi-toccata, in which we quickly sense the ultimate goal, follows a path toward its climax which is expertly winding and varied.]
— Michel Gonneville, cette ville étrange (November 20, 2010)
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Christopher Mayo's Binding the quiet initially seemed to evoke natural soundscapes such as shifting wind-like sounds, with few pitch references. The rustle of crumpled paper emerged time and time again throughout the piece sounding subtly through the thickening instrumental textures. A constantly varied melody eventually emerged from the sonic mesh, gained rhythmic distinction, and then faded. The surprisingly rich sounds of crumpled paper...echoed in my mind.
— Andrew Timar, The WholeNote Blog (November 26, 2010)
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À la fin du spectacle, l'heure du vote a sonné. Le vainqueur de la tournée remporte le prix du public Génération 2010, assorti d'une bourse de 1 000 $ et d'une commande des Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. Cette année, c'est Christopher Mayo qui a été choisi par près de 700 spectateurs pour son œuvre Binding the quiet. Une distinction de plus pour un jeune virtuose canadien.

[At the end of the show, the time to vote has come. The winner of the tour wins the audience award Generation 2010, with a cash prize of $1,000 and a commission from the Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. This year, Christopher Mayo was selected by about 700 spectators for his work Binding the quiet. One distinction more for a young Canadian virtuoso.]
— Elodie Crézé, L'Express du Pacifique (December 6, 2010)

Programme Note
Binding the quiet was commissioned by Ensemble contemporain de Montréal + for their 2010 Génération project and tour. It was first performed November 5, 2010 at The Banff Centre by ECM+ conducted by Véronique Lacroix. Binding the quiet was awarded the Prix du public Génération 2010.

The title is taken from the first line of a poem by Kenneth Patchen from his 1971 collection Wonderings.

Binding the quiet into chalky sheaves
I do not forget to pack spirit-moss
And lonely isles of hasty leaves
Into these "boxes" which will toss
Upon the sea until next Wednesday
When some good soul knowing them mine
Shall bring them back without a word—
And inside I'll find sixteen baby foxes
Sleeping at the breast of a great milk-white bird

- Kenneth Patchen, Wonderings (1971)

Performance History
November 5, 2010 - ECM+, Véronique Lacroix, conductor, Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, AB, Canada
November 7, 2010 - ECM+, Véronique Lacroix, conductor, Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, Victoria, BC, Canada
November 9, 2010 - ECM+, Véronique Lacroix, conductor, The Jazz Cellar, Vancouver, BC, Canada
November 11, 2010 - ECM+, Véronique Lacroix, conductor, Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
November 13, 2010 - ECM+, Véronique Lacroix, conductor, National Arts Centre, Ottawa, ON, Canada
November 14, 2010 - ECM+, Véronique Lacroix, conductor, The Music Gallery, Toronto, ON, Canada
November 16, 2010 - ECM+, Véronique Lacroix, conductor, D.F. Cook Recital Hall, St. John’s, NL, Canada

Broadcast History
2010, CBC Radio 2, Espace Musique