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The arrows of Saint Sebastian II (duos: bass clarinet, cello - with pre-recorded sound)

by Jennifer Fowler (1981)

Audio Sample

Performance by Symeron from the CD Works of Jennifer Fowler. Transcriptions Disc 3

Works of Jennifer Fowler. Transcriptions Disc 3


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arrows of Saint Sebastian II


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Work Overview

The Arrows of Saint Sebastian II begins as a monody - a single line modified only by the fact that some notes linger on. The monody is divided up between the instruments. Each note is both a thing-in-itself - as intense as an arrow which arrives cleanly with a slight accent - and also a part of a phrase, leading smoothly and intensely to the next note of the phrase. Each phrase is also the flight of an arrow: gathering momentum and losing it gradually.

Some of the notes (arrows) strike home and cause a lingering pulsation or gradual dying away. As the piece gains momentum, the texture becomes more complex, and also more active, with shorter note values.

The initial idea of the piece was prompted by a very disturbing dream about the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, and the emphasis on momentum, rising to a climax and dying away, (as used in each note, each pulsation, each phrase, and the piece as a whole) is meant to convey a disturbing and unsettling intensity.

Work Details

Year: 1981

Instrumentation: Bass clarinet, cello, pre-recorded tape.

Duration: 17 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

First performance: by Harry Sparnaay, Alan Brett — 1 Sep 81. Society for the Promotion of New Music Weekend, London, UK

Performances of this work

29 Sep 97: 3rd Australian Women's Music Festival, Holme Building, University of Sydney

25 Apr 92: Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo Centre, Sydney. Featuring Symeron.

1 Sep 81: Society for the Promotion of New Music Weekend, London, UK. Featuring Harry Sparnaay, Alan Brett.

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