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Electric songs : cantata for soloists, choir, theremin, bells and instrumental ensemble

by Martin Friedel (2005, this version: 2006)

Electric songs

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Work Overview

Electric Songs is the fourth of my 'science' cantatas. The texts used are drawn and adapted from a wide variety of historical, mythical and scientific narratives about electricity from the writings of Ovid, Pliny the Elder, Benjamin Franklin and others. Electric Songs traces the lightning-like forking path of human enlightenment and folly that we know as progress, and uses music to move our understanding beyond the merely factual. The introduction contained in the full score explores these themes in detail.

The structure of Electric Songs uses the interplay between solo voices of individual characters and choral forces in a series of short dramatic scenes with short semi-improvised exchanges between theremin and cello creating scene-changing interludes.

Work Details

Year: 2005, this version: 2006

Instrumentation: Soprano soloist, bass soloist, SATB choir, trumpet in C, tenor trombone, percussion, vibraphone, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, theremin (optional), choir bells.

Duration: 36 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Astra Chamber Music Society with funds provided by Arts Victoria.

First performance: by Astra Chamber Orchestra, John McCaughey, Astra Choir — 2 Oct 05. Fitzroy Town Hall, Melbourne, as part of the Astra 2005 Concert Series

Libretto by the composer


Performances of this work

5 Jun 06: Fitzroy Town Hall, Melbourne, as part of the Astra 2006 concert season. Featuring John McCaughey, Astra Choir, Astra Chamber Orchestra.

2 Oct 05: Fitzroy Town Hall, Melbourne, as part of the Astra 2005 Concert Series. Featuring Astra Chamber Orchestra, John McCaughey, Astra Choir.

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