The Vanity of Small Differences

The Upper Class at Bay (2012) by Grayson Perry

‘The Vanity of Small Differences’, a phrase coined by Freud, refers to the notion that conflict often arises between communities that share many commonalities but are hypersensitive to the finer details of their differentiation. In a tapestry of the same name, Grayson Perry used the phrase to skewer differences in class and taste in Britain. This duet is about musical conflict and dialogue arising from the instruments’ negotiation of the registral and timbral space that they share.

The piece has had a few iterations. It was initially written for a filming organised by Psappha through their emerging composers project ‘Composing For’ in 2018. It started as a three minute miniature (that you can hear in the video clip below), but I later expanded it into a six minute piece for Psappha’s concert series. I then extended it further into an eight minute, three-movement work on the Cheltenham Composers Academy 2019.

Violin and cello
8 minutes

Written on Psappha’s ‘Composing for’ scheme


10/07/2019Kaleidoscope Chamber CollectivePittville Pump Room,
15/11/2018PsapphaSt. Michael’s, ManchesterWP