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Voice of the shades (trios: flute, clarinet, violin)

by Jennifer Fowler (1977)

Audio Sample

From the CD Works of Jennifer Fowler. Transcriptions Disc 3

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Works of Jennifer Fowler. Transcriptions Disc 3


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Voice of the shades


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Voice of the shades : playing score / Jennifer Fowler.

Version: This product features the Soprano with chamber ensemble version of this work

Library shelf no. 783.6654/FOW 1 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

Voice of the Shades is scored for soprano, oboe or clarinet, and violin or alto flute. Alternatively, the piece can be performed on three instruments. The main argument is taken by the first two performers, with the third in a decorative, rather subservient role, until the middle of the piece, when it becomes an equal partner.

A musical technique has been forged for this piece: in that the choice of notes in any part of the piece, is carefully restricted, and each note may move to only one or two other notes (or in the most complex section, to 2 or 3 other notes). The choice of notes, however, changes gradually but continuously through the piece. The aim of the restrictions and limitations, is to achieve continuity and echoing, but without using exact repetition.

In devising the words and syllables sung, the composer has tried to create a parallel with the musical technique, in similarly limiting the number of vowels and consonants in use at any one time. The result is that only words here and there are recognisable English words, but enough syllables are reminiscent of real words to convey, perhaps, an echo of the legend of Orfeo, or the poem about the world beyond death: "Spelt from Sybil's Leaves" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Voice of the Shades was written in 1976\7 and has been performed at a number of international festivals: the I.S.C.M. World Music Days in Helsinki in 1978; the Asian Composers Festival in Hong Kong in 1981; the "Donne in Musica" in Rome, 1981; and the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music, 1981.

Work Details

Year: 1977

Instrumentation: Violin, clarinet, flute.

Duration: 15 min.

Text by the composer.

Performances of this work

19 Dec 98: Saalbau Neukoelln, Berlin, Germany. Featuring Ensemble Prisma Berlin, GEDOK organisation.

1991: Women in Music Festival, Atlanta, USA

1981: Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music, West Yorkshire, England

1981: Donne in Musica festival, Rome

1981: Asian Composers Festival, Hong Kong

12 Dec 78: Musica Viva, Mannheim, Germany

May 78: ISCM World Music Days, Helsinki, Finland

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