The inspiration for this piece came from two contrasting sources: the religious music of early medieval Spain, and Debbie Locke’s work of art ‘Retracing Your Steps - Bristol I’. Although over a thousand years apart, these two sources share a common feature - a powerful sense of movement enclosed within a static form. In early Spanish music this manifests in the use of extended melisma, and in Locke’s work it is depicted through the seemingly moving, web-like form of the central image. Tread Softly explores the idea of movement within stasis through the use of a main melodic gesture that transforms very slowly, but constantly, throughout.
“Both at the time and in hindsight, it was the closing work in the concert, Litha Efthymiou’s Tread Softly (another world première), that proved the most striking and memorable. Responding to ‘Retracing Your Steps – Bristol II’ by English artist Debbie Locke (see left), Efthymiou’s highly-wrought music went a long way to capturing the essence of Locke’s fantastically intricate filigree. Efthymiou employed a more sophisticated and nuanced treatment of the quartet than the preceding works, and the way material manifested and then re-manifested itself as the piece progressed was impressive and deeply immersive. This was even the case at its climax, a highly dissonant, motoric fever pitch that neither oppressed nor repulsed; the conclusion fell at the opposite extreme, a gorgeous, veiled epilogue that one almost never wanted to end. Tread Softly is a stunning piece that would greatly benefit from further listenings to appreciate more its wealth of inner details.”
Simon Cummings, 5:4 blog
Tread Softly Full score and parts · hh389.fsp · ISMN 979 0 708146 04 9