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Double entendre : for string quartet and piano

by John Peterson (2013)

Double entendre


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Score & Part

Double entendre : for string quartet and piano / John Peterson.

Library shelf no. 785.2815/PET 1 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

Double Entendre is the result of a collaboration between choreographer/performer Sue Healey, performer Raghav Handa and composer John Peterson. The work explores aspects of the particular languages associated with, and inherent in, dance and music, both of which are art forms that use gesture, style, and technique, to evoke emotion or meaning in quite different ways.

From a musical perspective the piece is in two contrasting movements, highlighting an essential duality that lies at the heart of the concept behind the work: the first movement features music that is circular in structure: a slow, but free-flowing, melodic section lies at the centre of this section, and this music, featuring an evocative violin melody, is framed at either end with discontinuous and rhythmically and harmonically unsettled music. The main melodic section presents two ideas that contrast with each other but the music continues to merely cycle through these ideas rather than develop them further. The intention is to create something that represents the introverted, or the 'internal', both spatially and psychologically, as if representing an individual in both a confined physical space and in a self-reflective mood.

The second part of the work is more extroverted in nature, and is more linear in structure, featuring music played at a much faster tempo with more challenging rhythms. The rhythmic elements are additive, with many changes in meter, creating an energetic music whose melodies are passed from one instrument to the other in a type of frantic dialogue. This music, and this movement of the work, is meant to represent the opposite condition to that of the first section: that is, the individual moving from the internal state to an external one, where interaction with other (ill-defined) spaces and other individuals is achieved in a variety of ways. The interactive melodic 'dialogue' between instruments is ultimately resolved as the ensemble unites in a climactic unison passage, while the coda section that follows provides a somewhat ambiguous but largely peaceful resolution to the work as a whole.

The music throughout explores the use of polymodal and polytonal harmonic languages that are a feature of my recent music, where works such as Fabulous Beasts (2012, for clarinet trio) explore similar concepts of musical, as well as psychological and physical, dualities.

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Piano, 2 violins, viola, cello.

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by the ‘Composition to Movement Festival 2013'

First performance: by Australia Ensemble — 25 May 13. Sir John Clancy Auditorium, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Performances of this work

12 Oct 2013: at Australia Ensemble @UNSW (Sir John Clancy Auditorium). Featuring Australia Ensemble.

10 Oct 2013: at Australia Ensemble @UNSW Free Lunch Hour Workshop Series 2013: John Peterson and Sue Healey (Leighton Hall). Featuring Australia Ensemble.

25 May 13: Sir John Clancy Auditorium, University of New South Wales, Sydney. Featuring Australia Ensemble.

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