In Camera was written for the principal players of the London Sinfonietta. It is intended to be a piece of real chamber music, and although the work is scored for 13 instruments, it is unconducted.
The work is notionally in three parts. The first is concerned with the essence of chamber music playing: a warm and intensely social experience of statement, reply, dialogue and accompaniment. The second part is more like a chamber concerto with sharply contrasted interplay of solo and tutti writing, and in the third part, the guitar, which has so far been submerged in the texture, rises to dominate the ensemble as a soloist.
One may think of the work as a set of three Nocturnes, the first perhaps in the spirit of E. T. A. Hoffmann – a gathering of friends, a punch-bowl, conversation and a gentle drift into storytelling and fantasy. The second part is a more haunted Nocturne, dynamic and charged with energy, whilst the third is closely related to a guitar solo piece written for Rose Andresier called After Night, which is in turn a distant and very still reflection of Schönberg’s powerful and moving Survivor from Warsaw.