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Pacific dancing : full orchestra

by Bruce Crossman (2007)

Pacific dancing


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Pacific dancing / Bruce Crossman.

Library shelf no. Q 784.2/CRO 4 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

The 'Pacific' of the title refers to the music's use of cultural resonances of the Pacific: percussion ensemble sounds of the Philippines and personal interval-colour sonorities evocative of the sea. These resonances 'dance' in that they are swept up into colour chorales (both fast and slow) and fiery syncopated Filipino kulintang percussion rhythms. The shape of the piece is explosive: opening kulintang fragments evolve into a cacophony of juxtapositions with orchestra girded by a barrage of percussion at the end. Untuned percussion at the close balances the tuned-percussive utterance at the opening. Interval-colour moments feature in the music either via dissonantly tinged whole-tone conglomerations, initially borrowed from kulintang scales, or with open-string fifth resonances, or by aching tonally dissonant sounds. The static colours reflecting sea-blue or Filipino sonorities are thrust forward, amongst moments of repose, in syncopated Pacific rhythm as a way of expressing the composer's locale.

Work Details

Year: 2007

Instrumentation: 2 flutes (1st doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, trumpet in C, 2 trumpets in B flat, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (1 player), harp, strings.

Duration: 11 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — detailed chamber textures for orchestra requires careful preparation

First performance: by New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Hamish McKeich — 13 Sep 07. NZSO-SOUNZ Readings: Orchestral Music by New Zealand Composers, Wellington Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand

The composer cites the following influences on this work:

Asian-Pacific influences from the Philippines (especially Filipino kulintang percussion ensemble) as well as modernist post-tonal harmonic language (Alban Berg, Henze, Peter Maxwell Davies)


NZSO-SOUNZ Readings national selection (New Zealand)


Performances of this work

13 Sep 07: NZSO-SOUNZ Readings: Orchestral Music by New Zealand Composers, Wellington Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand. Featuring New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Hamish McKeich.

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