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Rauha : for wind and brass, percussion, keyboards and double basses

by Andrew Ford (2009)



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Rauha / Andrew Ford

Library shelf no. Q 785.3219/FOR 1 [Available for loan]


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Work Overview

For centuries the magnificent rapids on the Vuoksi river at Imatra in south-eastern Finland drew visitors from all over the world. Russian Tsars came from Catherine the Great to Nicholas II. So did Pedro the Magnanimous, Emperor of Brazil. In 1903 a large hotel was built next to the rapids, and three years later Igor and Katerina Stravinsky had their honeymoon there.

Today it is only possible to experience the rapids for 20 minutes on a summer's evening, for in 1929 the river was dammed for hydroelectricity. This was a major national event. An Imatra Symphony was requested from Sibelius, though it came to nothing, and foreign dignitaries travelled to attend the damming. The new dam was an emblem of progress to the Finnish people. But after the rapids ran dry, a terrible silence fell. Where once there had been a constant roaring torrent, now birds began to sing. The price of Imatra's progress was a tense, never-ending peace. 'Rauha', is the Finnish word for peace.

One summer's evening in 2008 I spent 20 minutes beside the rushing waters. The noise is hugely impressive, almost overwhelming, and I wondered how it must have felt when it was abruptly taken away, especially if you had lived next to it all your life. This piece is the result of my wondering.

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: 3 flutes (2nd & 3rd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B flat (2nd doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (2nd doubling contrabassoon), 2 horns, 2 trumpets in B flat, percussion (2 players), piano (doubling out-of-tune honky-tonk piano and harmonium), at least 4 double basses.

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Brett Dean

Commission note: Commissioned by Australian National Academy of Music.

First performance: by Brett Dean, Australian National Academy of Music at The Musical Child (South Melbourne Town Hall) on 20 May 2010

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2012 Albert H Maggs Composition Award First prize Andrew Ford


Performances of this work

20 May 2010: at The Musical Child (South Melbourne Town Hall). Featuring Brett Dean, Australian National Academy of Music.

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