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Work

Shell chambers : for piano quartet

by Elliott Gyger (2016)

Shell chambers

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Score

Shell chambers : for piano quartet / by Elliott Gyger.

Library shelf no. 785.2814/GYG 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Shell Chambers is my first work for a standard chamber combination in over ten years, and deals unusually directly (for me) with the Western musical canon - not in vocabulary, but in terms of rhetoric and structure.

The eight movements range in length from thirty seconds to nearly ten minutes. The three longest explore common 19th-century formal models: a rapid Scherzo with several contrasting Trios (each omitting one member of the quartet to create a literal trio); an Adagio cast as a set of variations; and a robust Allegro in sonata form. However, each of these models is split across two movements, in such a way that the overall structure is turned in on itself. The four Interludes are brief character pieces, and mirror the internal divisions of the Scherzo in being scored for different trios; while the final movement recalls each of the preceding seven in miniature.

The title refers to marine animals such as the nautilus, which in the course of their lifetimes assemble a spiral shell made up of chambers of increasing size. In a similar way, this work contains organic growth within an exoskeleton of elegant patterning.

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: Violin, viola, cello, piano.

Duration: 26 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: I. Interlude 1 -- II. Scherzo - Allegro -- III. Interlude 2 -- IV. Adagio – Scherzo -- V. Interlude 3 -- VI. Interlude 4 -- VII. Allegro - Adagio  --  VIII. Précis.

Commission note: Commissioned by Australia Piano Quartet.

First performance: by Australia Piano Quartet at Australia Piano Quartet – Shell Chambers (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room) on 26 Nov 2016

Performances of this work

8 Dec 2016: at Liebestod: works by Wagner, Gyger and Fauré (Salon - Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Australia Piano Quartet.

26 Nov 2016: at Australia Piano Quartet – Shell Chambers (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room). Featuring Australia Piano Quartet.

11 Dec 15: UTS, Sydney. Featuring Australia Piano Quartet.

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