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Uncovered ground : large chamber ensemble

by Felicity Wilcox (2015)

Uncovered ground


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Uncovered ground / Felicity Wilcox.

Library shelf no. 785.3418/WIL 2 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

In composing this new work for Ironwood and Ensemble Offspring, I have been concerned to somehow create a dialogue between early and new music. The ground bass piece heard at the end of Uncovered Ground is the first music I composed, with the intention to echo the traditional music for consorts that was played so often during the early Baroque period. Its bass pattern was transformed into a ten-note tone row for the dissonant 'free time' passages, its melody was recycled for each of the three duets between old and new instruments, and its harmonies constitute the material for the opening and closing fanfares. Another intention has been to deliberately contrast the character of old and new instruments. This becomes a pattern throughout, beginning with casting the modern and Baroque violins in a duet, followed by dances between other old and new instrument pairs, continuing with contrasting the sound of the modern alto flute and the wooden Baroque flute, extending through to the dual personality of the grand piano with its alternation of conventional and prepared sounds, to the trio's simple statement of the original ground, after an extended dissonant passage from the whole ensemble.

Finally, it is perhaps worth sharing that in constructing Uncovered Ground I had a very clear image in mind. It was of a wall, rendered over with cement- matte, modern, loud, that was slowly being chipped away, to reveal a beautiful underside, some long-forgotten, delicate mural, rich in detail. The hammers and chisels that seek to break it open are the percussive sounds that cut across those brash, block chords, opening the way to gradually reveal in full the fragile beauty of the ever-present under-layer.

Work Details

Year: 2015

Instrumentation: Baroque violin, baroque viola, baroque cello, 8-keyed simple-system Classical flute/flute in C/alto flute, modern violin, bass clarinet, percussion, prepared piano.

Duration: 11 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Specific instrumentation, unconventional techniques and notation.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring

Commission note: Commissioned by Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring.. Commissioned for "Broken Consorts" concert series, February, 2015

First performance: by Ensemble Offspring, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble at Broken Consorts (Baha'i Centre) on 20 Feb 2015

The composer notes the following subjects, genres, influences etc. associated with this work:
Early music, new music, Baroque, new ground bass, new music for consorts.

Performances of this work

21 Aug 2016: at Broken Consorts (Ngeringa Cultural Centre). Featuring Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring.

1 Mar 2015: at Broken Consorts (Newcastle Museum). Featuring Ensemble Offspring, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble.

28 Feb 2015: at Broken Consorts (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room). Featuring Ensemble Offspring, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble.

23 Feb 2015: at Broken Consorts (fortyfivedownstairs). Featuring Ensemble Offspring, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble.

21 Feb 2015: at Broken Consorts (Burnie Regional Art Gallery). Featuring Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring.

20 Feb 2015: at Broken Consorts (Baha'i Centre). Featuring Ensemble Offspring, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble.

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