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Distorted waters : for alto flute and violoncello

by Peter McNamara (2007)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Lamorna Nightingale, Andrew Wilson from the CD Selected works by AMC represented artists

Selected works by AMC represented artists


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


Selected works by AMC represented artists : vol. 16

Library shelf no. CD 2273 [Available for loan]

Distorted waters


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Distorted waters : for alto flute and violoncello / Peter McNamara.

Library shelf no. Q 785.4412/MCN 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

The work's title has a double meaning and refers to how various aural tricks are played on the listener as well as the state of water shortage in Australia at the time when the work was written. The listener's aural expectations are frequently distorted by taking advantage of the like timbres between the Alto Flute and Cello such as harmonics, and often avoiding the registers of each instrument that posses distinctive tone colours. This results in the listener not knowing for sure which instrument is playing what. The concept of expecting something that is not actually a reality also relates to Australia's water situation as we can no longer expect to use water in the same way we always have.

Distorted Waters has a sense of timelessness, and is divided into various events or gestures that are allocated a vague length in seconds rather than any rhythm. This also adds to the distorted expectations as the flow of the work is very unpredictable and has very few climaxes. The pitch material used is also very vague, with much of the work focusing on tone colours and various colouristic effects rather than pitch.

Work Details

Year: 2007

Instrumentation: Alto flute, cello.

Duration: 11 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — The entire work is unmeasured and requires extensive coordination between the two performers

Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by Arts NSW.. Commissioned under the Western Sydney Artist Fellowship.

First performance: by Lamorna Nightingale, Andrew Wilson — 18 Sep 08. University of Western Sydney (Nepean campus)

Selected for performance at the 2009 Gaudeamus Music Week.


Resonate article: 2013 ISCM World New Music Days - Peter McNamara's work selected by Australian Music Centre


Distorted Water, by Peter McNamara


Performances of this work

11 Nov 13: ISCM World New Music Days, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berio-Saal (Hall), Austria. Featuring Ensemble Phace.

4 Nov 10: Irino Foundation 30th Anniversary Concert, Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall, Japan. Featuring Ensemble Nomad.

7 Sep 09: Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

18 Sep 08: University of Western Sydney (Nepean campus). Featuring Lamorna Nightingale, Andrew Wilson.

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