Piece for an opera house (duos: 2 pianos)
by Jennifer Fowler (1973)
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Library shelf no. CD 2542 [Available for loan]
Piece for an Opera House begins with one line of notes in each piano part. This develops into two independent lines in each part (all four parts being rhythmically free of each other). Then comes a section using trills, glissandos, clusters, rapid runs and silences. Finally, a section using chords.
At the end, one can imagine the piece continuing in several different ways: it could start again at the beginning; or could develop in other directions. It is left to the imagination of the listeners, to continue the piece in their own minds.
The music is based on three different "scales" of fixed pitches, which extend over the whole keyboard. (The word "scale" is in inverted commas, because in these scales each octave is different from its neighbours). At certain times, particular notes in certain registers become important, and the music swirls around these notes, or nodal points. In between, however, are other sections, which are much free-er, more rhapsodic, and are released from any strong directional pull.
Rhythmically the piece is a study in flexibility and independence of separate lines. Perhaps there is a suggestion of the complex, curving lines of the Opera House itself?
Instrumentation: 2 pianos ; or 1 piano with tape.May be performed by 2 pianists at 2 pianos, or by 4 hands at one piano, or by one pianist with or without a pre-recorded tape accompaniment.
Duration: 8 min.
Commission note: Commissioned by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.. Commissioned for the opening of Sydney Opera House.
First performance: Oct 73. The opening of the Sydney Opera House
Performances of this work
Jun 09: Sydney Conservatorium, Sydney. Featuring Gerard Williams.
1 Jun 2009: at A two-piano delight (Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music).
12 May 08: Sydney Conservatorium, Sydney. Featuring Gerard Williams.
8 Sep 88: Seymour Centre, University of Sydney. Featuring Sally Mays.
1979: Performed at various locations: Amsterdam, Utrecht, Budapest, Bracknell (UK) & London. Featuring Michael Finnissy.
1977: ABC, Sydney. Featuring Robert Bouffler.
1977: Freiburg, Germany & Durham, UK. Featuring Michael Finnissy.
Oct 73: The opening of the Sydney Opera House
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