The Rest Is Silence : Concerto for Cor anglais and Orchestra
by Anne Cawrse (2021)
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Library shelf no. 784.2853/CAW 1 [Available for loan]
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In orchestral settings, the cor anglais is often charged with the responsibility of giving voice to music's most melancholic, bittersweet and emotionally profound melodic moments. In planning this concerto, I decided early on that I was not interested in pushing the instrument into a space it did not easily fit. And so, armed with the desire to write a primarily lyrical work, together with a list of soloist Michael Pisani's favourite cor anglais orchestral moments, I created The Rest Is Silence as a musical response to the quote by Aldous Huxley: "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music".
My concerto seeks to position the cor anglais in the spaces between music and silence. It is often both the first and the last to be heard, acting as a conduit between string and wind sonorities. Its unmistakable tone appears in brief glimpses between chords, like sunlight briefly piercing through clouds. The regular silences and moments of rest found in the orchestral parts are manipulated by the soloist, who either fills the space, comments upon it, or prepares us for the silence yet to come.
My hope is that this work, to borrow more of Huxley's words, will "give expression to (the) awareness of blessedness" that comes from being still and knowing. The Rest Is Silence is a prayer, a celebration, and a meditation on the quiet still spaces, the silence amidst the hustle, and the enduring power of music.
Instrumentation: Solo cor anglais, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 2 horns, timpani, percussion (2 players), harp, strings.
Duration: 16 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Michael Pisani, Nicholas Carter and the Melbourne symphony Orchestra
Commission note: Commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
- In the form/style of: Concertos
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