A letter to the king of Norway (Part 1) : for French horn, two violins and viola
by Scott McIntyre (2012)
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Library shelf no. 785.4514/MCI 1 [Available for loan]
Having spent the last two years writing an opera set in Antarctica dealing with the harsh conditions faced by Robert Falcon Scott's tragic expedition exactly one hundred years ago, I leapt on the opportunity to come and visit the northern regions of the globe, especially the Denali Wilderness Park. Upon reaching the Pole, Scott had discovered Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, who had left him a tent, supplies, equipment and a number of letters, had beaten him. One of these letters was a letter to King Hakon of Norway detailing his triumph and an accompanying letter asking Scott to deliver it on his behalf. Scott of course perished and the letter was delayed but I have always been fascinated by this concept. I wished to draw polar parallels between Scott and Amundsen's life stories and the idea of a piece "from the North" would help with the answer to Scott's Antarctic question. Norway lies on the 63N degree line as does Norway, parts of Antarctica at the antipodes of 63S. This narrative combined with the visual overload of Denali's scenery helped conjure up a piece that encompasses the vast scale of these wildernesses and the almost insignificant scale of the human in such areas. We were also very fortunate to be accompanied by a scientist experienced in field recordings and his invaluable knowledge helped quantify the myriad of sounds that serve as "music" to nature. I found most fascinating the concept of space but also the niches of frequency that certain animals occupy. As species propagate and multiply and occupy new areas, they work with the current inhabitants to separate their calls and increase the tonal and harmonic spectrum of the space. This piece explores how these narrow fields can expand and form newer and richer variations in the music of the wilderness.
Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, French horn.
Duration: 6 min.
First performance: 28 Jul 12. Fairbanks University, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Performances of this work
28 Jul 12: Fairbanks University, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
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