Porfyrius' shuffle (solo piano)
by Damien Ricketson (2006)
Performance by Naomi Edemariam from the CD Selected works by AMC represented artists, vol. 34.
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In the fourth century A.D. Optatianus Porfyrius penned together a poem, Carmen XXV. The poem is striking. Carmen XXV is written so that four out of every five words in each line may be 'shuffled' to create a new variation of that line. The content is self-reflective. It tells of 'dysharmonic junctions', 'uneven meters', 'rough tones' and 'confused words' that 'torment the singer'. The poem has over a billion possible variations.
Porfyrius' Shuffle also exhibits a multitude of possible forms. The musical material is a short but infinite loop from which the pianist chooses a starting point. A second loop, of differing length, describes an expressive path from which the pianist also chooses a starting point. The expressive loop is overlaid with the musical loop so as to guide decisions such as speed, volume and emotive character. Porfyrius' Shuffle is the first of a series of solo etudes that explore attributes of the infinite.
Duration: 7 min.
Commission note: Composed while in residence at the Banff Centre, Canada with the support of an Australia Council Project Fellowship
First performance: by Naomi Edemariam — 8 Mar 06. Ralston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada
The musical material is a short but infinite loop from which the pianist chooses a starting point.
Performances of this work
8 Mar 06: Ralston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada. Featuring Naomi Edemariam.
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