Deep and dissolving verticals of light : nocturnal concerto for orchestra
by Elliott Gyger (1994)
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Listen online to a full-length recording of this work.
performed by SSO/Porcelijn David
Access to this recording is courtesy of the ABC's classic amp website.
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Although intended originally for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Deep and dissolving verticals of light is very much a Sydney piece. For the first 27 years of my life, I lived beside Sydney Harbour, catching the ferry into town underneath the Bridge most days, and seldom out of earshot of the sounds of the water traffic, from speedboats to oil tankers. Like others before me, I was particularly fascinated with the visual and aural space of the harbour by night, and in 1990 I made a musical exploration of the terrain through an a cappella choral setting of Kenneth Slessor's landmark poem 'Five Bells' - surely the definitive Sydney nocturne.
The piece's subtitle, 'nocturnal concerto for orchestra', encapsulates the two opposing tendencies which shape the music: the creation of an immense sense of space; and the articulation of ever-proliferating detail, which threatens to overwhelm the second half of the piece.. The concerto aspect of the work also resides more particularly in the prominent role of six pairs of solo instruments, scattered across the stage, which act as kernels around which the rest of the orchestra is assembled. Underpinning the whole of the work's fifteen-minute span is a 'cantus firmus' line, tracing out an arch from the lowest register to the highest (exactly halfway through) and back again.
Instrumentation: Piccolo, flute, alto flute, 2 cor anglais, E flat clarinet, B flat clarinet, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contra-bassoon, 3 horns in F, 3 trumpets in C, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (4 players), harp, strings (22.214.171.124.5).
Duration: 15 min.
Program note: Elliott Gyger's "Deep and dissolving verticals of light"
program note by the composer
- In the form/style of: Concertos
Performances of this work
16 Jan 2010: at AYO National Music Camp Orchestras (Llewellyn Hall).
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