Five hallucinations : for trombone and orchestra
by Carl Vine (2016)
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Library shelf no. 784.2893/VIN 1 [Not for loan]
In his book Hallucinations, the acclaimed
British-American neurologist Oliver Sacks chronicles a wide range
of hallucinatory conditions reported by his patients throughout
his illustrious career. I have chosen five of those cases as the
inspiration for this concerto, creating an imaginary musical
representation of each mental state. These particular
hallucinations were comparatively benign for those who
experienced them, and in some cases were positively welcome.
Hallucinations are fascinating phenomena - instantaneous random inventions of our brains overlaid on the sensation of common reality and indistinguishable from it. Many of us will experience them in some way during our lives. When we sleep for example, we are aware that our brain is in free flight and its muddled dream scenarios are not real. On the edges of sleep however, we can confuse random mental impressions with reality, and are hallucinating. A typical example is hearing one's name spoken by an unknown person; another is when the tail end of a dream impinges on perceived reality.
Sufferers of brain damage or a range of neurological disorders regularly hallucinate. Others without mental illness but under great stress or fatigue can also hallucinate, as of course can those who use psychotropic drugs. It is this bridge between the real world and some of the surprising ways in which our brains interpret the mundane reality around us that I find endlessly fascinating.
Carl Vine, February 2016
Instrumentation: Solo trombone, piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B flat, bass clarinet in B flat, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets in C, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), harp, strings.
Duration: 20 min.
Contents note: i. I smell the unicorn -- ii. The lemonade speaks -- iii. Mama wants some cookies -- iv. The Doppelgänger -- v. Hexagons in pink.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Michael Mulcahy
Written for: Michael Mulcahy
Commission note: Commissioned by Johanna Featherstone, Geoff Ainsworth, Kim Williams for performance by Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.. Co-commissioned by the Edward F. Schmidt Family Commissioning Fund for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and by Kim Williams, Geoff Ainsworth & Johanna Featherstone for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
First performance: by Michael Mulcahy, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, James Gaffigan at Prokofiev's Cinderella & Vine's Five Hallucinations (Symphony Center (Chicago)) on 6 Oct 2016
Performances of this work
8 Oct 2016: at Prokofiev's Cinderella & Vine's Five Hallucinations (Symphony Center (Chicago)). Featuring Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Michael Mulcahy, James Gaffigan.
7 Oct 2016: at Prokofiev's Cinderella & Vine's Five Hallucinations (Symphony Center (Chicago)). Featuring James Gaffigan, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Michael Mulcahy.
6 Oct 2016: at Prokofiev's Cinderella & Vine's Five Hallucinations (Symphony Center (Chicago)). Featuring Michael Mulcahy, James Gaffigan, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
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