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Lotus (Water) : from Rugby Music

by Elena Kats-Chernin (2003)

Elena Kats-Chernin. Vol. 7.


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Elena Kats-Chernin. Vol. 7.

Library shelf no. CD 1183 [Available for loan]



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Lotus : water, for orchestra / Elena Kats-Chernin.

Library shelf no. Q 784.2/KAT 5 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Lotus (Water) and Fire – Elena Kats-Chernin

Elena Kats-Chernin (1957- ) was born in Tashkent and received her musical training in Yaroslavl and Moscow before emigrating from the former Soviet Union to Australia in 1975. She studied composition with Richard Toop, graduating in 1980, and then studied with Helmut Lachenmann in Hanover, Germany, with the assistance of a DAAD Fellowship. Whilst in Europe she composed for theatre and ballet in Germany. Since returning to Australia in 1994, she has written three operas, 2 piano concertos and works for many performers and ensembles, including Sydney Alpha Ensemble, Evelyn Glennie, Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. The score for the ballet Wild Swans, choreographed by Meryl Tankard for the Australian Ballet in 2003, won the Green Room Award as well as the Helpmann Award 2004 for the best original score.

The composer writes about her works Lotus and Fire:
‘In 2003 I was asked to write two pieces for the Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony, for two segments called Fire and Water. The Fire segment, they explained, would feature very tall figures, with real fire and dancing! (They looked like "fire monsters" in the actual ceremony). I was asked to write something energetic, even a little clownesque, with pauses and "angular" rhythmic motifs and lasting for 3 minutes. The piece I wrote ran for 3 minutes and 10 seconds however the choreography was cut to about two and a half minutes so the music had to be cut down for the performance; I decided to keep those cuts to be true to its first performance.’

‘The piece called Water was named Lotus by me because the organizers were talking about these white flowers in conjunction with the production. The piece was to be danced by the group "Strange Fruit" which specialise in very theatrical choreography on tall poles. It was meant to be a lyrical and poetic piece, at the same time keeping the rhythm straightforward for the dancing/swaying on the poles (which, I believe, are tricky to negotiate). Later I wrote a piece for a childrens' choir and orchestra called Butterflying based on the same material as well as even later an arrangement for violin and piano. So, Lotus has had many lives.’


Work Details

Year: 2003

Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B flat, bass clarinet in B flat, 3 bassoons, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in C, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (4 players), harp, piano, strings.

Duration: 3 min.

Commission note: Commissioned by Rugby World Cup 2003.

First performance: by Lyn Williams, Sydney Symphony — 10 Oct 03. At the Rugby World Cup 2003 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, Sydney.

Can be performed together with 'Fire'.

Performances of this work

10 Oct 03: At the Rugby World Cup 2003 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, Sydney.. Featuring Lyn Williams, Sydney Symphony.

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