First light at Uluru : for saxophone orchestra
by Katia Beaugeais (2015)
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First Light at Uluru has
received numerous performances throughout Europe and Australia.
This piece is inspired by the spectacular sunrise over Uluru -
Australia's most famous icon. Also known as Ayers Rock, it is a
giant red rock in the middle of Australia's red desert. Uluru
means 'Earth Mother' and is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal
people of the area. The 8.6 square kilometre rock is believed to
hold a powerful energy source and marks the place where Dreamtime
First Light at Uluru conveys the Aboriginal significance and sacred earth of Uluru. 'Didgeridoo-like' vibrato sounds and atmospheric wind sound effects depict the characteristic wind gusts of Uluru and symbolise the cultural significance and spiritual atmosphere of this powerful landmark. As the sun slowly rises, soft, dream-like melodies gradually build up to chorale-like passages, exploring the beautiful, lyrical sounds of the ensemble. At dawn, the giant red rock changes colour and produces an illuminating red and orange glow. Contemporary playing techniques enhance the giant red rock's illuminating red and orange glowing sunrise, illustrating the unique palette of colours of the saxophone orchestra and wind symphony version. Extended techniques featured in this work showcase how avant-garde effects can create calm, expressive and atmospheric passages.
Instrumentation: Saxophone orchestra (2x soprano, 4x alto, 3x tenor, 2x baritone, 1x bass).
Duration: 9 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Includes saxophone extended techniques: air vibrato, quarter-tone trills and multiphonics
First performance: 10 Jul 15. XVII World Saxophone Congress (Place Kléber), Strasbourg, France
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Aboriginal inspiration - Clap sticks, Didgeridoo-like sounds and wind machine. Uluru's sunrise portrayed through colours, timbres and textural effects of wind symphony. Contemporary playing techniques: ‘Air vibrato’ wind sounds depict the wind gusts characteristic of Uluru. Saxophone multiphonics
First Light at Uluru for saxophone orchestra was originally composed for the Queensland Conservatorium Saxophone Orchestra in 2015 for premiere performances at the XVII World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg featuring thirty saxophonists, the Selmer Saxophone Showrooms in Paris, and in a joint concert with the Royal Northern College of Music Saxophone Orchestra in England.
This piece symbolises the Aboriginal significance and spiritual atmosphere of this powerful landmark. Atmospheric wind sound effects are heard throughout the whole saxophone orchestra to depict the characteristic wind gusts of Uluru. Trance-like multiphonic and quarter-tone trill timbral and textural effects convey the red rock’s glowing sunrise, gradually building up to a loud, kaleidoscopic, collage-like, textural sound mass, showcasing the distinct palette of colours of the saxophone orchestra.
First light at Uluru
First Light at Uluru for Wind Symphony
Katia Beaugeais and Dr John Lynch discuss the Aboriginal inspiration, composition and collaborative process of First Light at Uluru for Wind Symphony
Performances of this work
23 Nov 2015: at Queensland Conservatorium Saxophone Orchestra CD Launch (Basil Jones Orchestral Hall). Featuring Queensland Conservatorium Saxophone Orchestra, Diana Tolmie.
14 Oct 2015: at Katia Beaugeais: First Light at Uluru (Verbrugghen Hall). Featuring Sydney Conservatorium of Music Saxophone Orchestra.
10 Jul 15: XVII World Saxophone Congress (Place Kléber), Strasbourg, France
2015: England. Featuring Royal Northern College of Music Saxophone Orchestra.
2015: Selmer Saxophone Showrooms, Paris
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