On the enchanted island, where William Shakespeare’s The Tempest takes place, the ‘airy spirit’ Ariel was once imprisoned in a tree by the witch Sycorax. He is later released by the old magician Prospero, but as a reward for this has to serve him during a full year. At the end of the year – and of the play – Prospero indeed sets him free, at last.
This is what came to my mind when saxophonist Ties Mellema told me he had injured his right hand and asked me to write a piece for him, taking into account his now limited possibilities. Writing this piece was an intellectual challenge. It felt like writing a poem in such a way that it can be recited with parted lips throughout (implying one can’t use the b, the f, the m, etc.).
Notwithstanding these limitations, I hope that the music may reveal a glimpse of Shakespeare’s wonderful magic.