The unity of virtue : for wind symphony and optional youth orchestra
by Andrián Pertout (2014)
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The Unity of Virtue was commissioned by Mario Dobernig and the Ballarat Wind Orchestra, and was especially composed for the orchestra's 2014 tour of China, encompassing five concerts in five cities: Bauding, Dezhou, Jinan, Xuzhou and Shanghai. The work juxtaposes two contrasting folk songs: The Maryborough Miner (an Australian mining song with origins in the Victorian gold fields of the 1850's, celebrating towns such as Ballarat, Maryborough, Bendigo and Maldon) and Mò li huâ, or Jamine Flower (a popular Chinese folk song dating back to the reign of the Qianlong Emperor [1735-1796] during the period of the Qing Dynasty [1644-1911], which was introduced to the West as a temporary national anthem in 1896, and later utilized as a quotation in Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot (1926). The melodic materials of the abovementioned songs are interweaved within 'The Unity of Virtue' in contrapuntal fashion, utilizing a variety of compositional techniques that include rhythmic exchange (the utilization of each other's rhythmic structure), modal transformation (the incorporation of Jeff Brent and Schell Barkley's concept of 'radial symmetry' and the bright and dark colours of the chromatic cube as presented in Modalogy: Scales, Modes & Chords: The Primordial Building Blocks of Music , and tempo canons (or inverted augmentation canons, expressed as polyrhythmic ratios: 1/2/4/8). The work consists of four continuous movements philosophically framed around the four cardinal virtues outlined in Plato's Protagoras and 'The Unity of Virtue': prudence (or wisdom), justice (or fairness), temperance (or restraint) and courage (or fortitude).
Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 flutes, oboe, 3 Bb clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, Eb alto saxophone, Bb tenor saxophone, 2 F horns, 2 Bb flugelhorns, 3 Bb trumpets (1st trumpet doubling optional Bb Scottish Great Highland bagpipes), 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, Bb euphonium, EEb tuba, percussion. Optional Youth Orchestra: 4-8 3rd flutes and/or flute 1-2, 4-8 4th Bb clarinets and/or Bb clarinet 2-3, 4-8 2nd Eb alto saxophones (plus optional oboe 2) and/or Eb alto saxophone 1, 4-8 2nd Bb tenor saxophones (plus optional F horn 3) and/or Bb tenor saxophone 1, 4-8 4th Bb trumpets and/or Bb trumpet 3, 4-8 3rd tenor trombones (plus optional bassoon 2) and/or tenor trombone 2.
Duration: 26 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional/Semi-Professional
Commission note: Commissioned by Mario Dobernig and the Ballarat Wind Orchestra
Performances of this work
12 Jul 14: Shanghai Daning Theater, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
8 Jul 14: Xuzhou Concert Hall, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, People’s Republic of China
6 Jul 14: Shandong Grand Theater, Jinan, Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China
4 Jul 14: Dezhou Grand Theater, Dezhou, Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China
2 Jul 14: Zhili Theater, Baoding, Hebei Province, People’s Republic of China
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