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...Between silence and the word

Sheet Music: Score

...Between silence and the word / Jennifer Fowler.

by Jennifer Fowler (1987)

  • Purchase Price: $50.91 (Usually ships in 3-8 business days) — Add to Cart
  • Library Availability: 785.4315/FOW 1 — Available for loan
  • Instrumentation: Flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn.All instrumentalists are required to recite the words of the poem in rhythm
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  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Ensemble Australis, Tony Gray from the CD Works of Jennifer Fowler. Transcriptions Disc 4


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"a breath hovering, in the realm of dusk, at the threshold between silence and the word". (Hermann Broch).

Although this is an instrumental piece, for wind quintet, I have used the words of a poem about shadows, by Jennifer Gibbons. The poem not only provides the underlying mood of the piece, but the words are also spoken in rhythm by the performers, intertwined with the instrumental lines. The rhythm of the words is taken up by the music: in fact all the music echoes lines of the poem.

The treatment of the music is contrapuntal and circling, with use of close canon. However, so that the texture remains transparent, only portions of these lines are actually stated: they appear and disappear. It follows, though, that the snatches of music are not haphazard, but are based on an underlying logic. I follow my usual practice in dealing with canon, by allowing a certain elasticity in the rhythm of each line, so that note values can expand or contract, allowing variations in the distance between voices.

The use of slightly-out-of-tune notes I hope will add to the rather strange and "strained" sound. The total effect will be, I hope, of a rather quiet piece which is highly tense and intense.

The title is taken from a quotation of Hermann Broch, which I feel is very relevant to this piece, since music can be that breath which hovers "between silence and the word".

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (34p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 13 mins

Commissioned by Ensemble Australis.

Includes performance directions, and full text.

Words by Jennifer Gibbons, taken from “The Silent Twins” by Marjorie Wallace.

This is a handwritten edition — it is not typeset.

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

Works of Jennifer Fowler. Transcriptions Disc 4
CD: Works of Jennifer Fowler. Transcriptions Disc 4 : pieces for instrumental ensemble.


- Browse other works for Wind quintets

- Browse other works by Jennifer Fowler

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