Scored for soprano and cello, Snow-Hole is cast in a single
movement which evolves from the initial ideas in the short cello
introduction. A continuous stream of music creates a calm lyricism which
is layered with images that appear in and out of focus. The opening
words Falling asleep is heard by both performers in unison before
they go their separate ways. This idea of the cello and soprano together
and then apart persists throughout.
The National Concert Hall commissioned Snow-Hole for the
2003 Composers’ Choice series and was premiered by Judith Mok and Juliet
Welchman. It has since enjoyed numerous performances by Concorde.
“Falling asleep in the snowscape of the big double-bed
I wrap my hand around your hand until they catch fire
And the snow begins to melt and we sink down and down,
The fire and ourselves, how many feet below the morning.
Should our fingers burn out at the bottom of the snow-hole
Smoke will escape up the glass chimney into the bedroom.”
Michael Dungan, Irish Times:
“Elaine Agnew’s 2003 Snow-Hole needed
no visual corroboration. Her evocative setting for voice and cello of
Michael Longley’s poem nicely captured the tender image of a bed as a vast,