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Trace : two miniatures for chamber orchestra

by Elliott Gyger (1997)



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Trace : two miniatures for chamber orchestra / by Elliott Gyger.

Library shelf no. 784.3/GYG 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

This work is a transcription of two short "occasional" pieces: Threshold (1994) for solo piano, and Eulogy (1991) for Eb clarinet and piano. These two miniatures have in common the fact that they adhere to fairly strict rhythmic and formal schemes, but with entirely intuitively conceived pitch material. Each of them is also a duet ‑ Eulogy literally so, while Threshold is structured as a duet between the pianist's two hands.

The orchestral transcriptions are virtually note-for-note, but feature a deliberately kaleidoscopic interplay of timbres. In the case of Threshold this is implicit in the textural volatility of the original, which might be characterized as a compressed series of overlapping variations on the basic material. Eulogy, on the other hand, is in its original form extremely consistent in its gestures. Here the orchestration is definitely adding a new layer of meaning to the musical text, with the clarinet's phrases allotted to every solo colour in the orchestra in turn (and the accompaniment receiving comparably diverse treatment).

My choice of the title trace for the new version of the two pieces taken together reflects not only the process of re-creation and the wispy character of the orchestral textures, but also the elusive role of memory in the unfolding history of the music.

Work Details

Year: 1997

Instrumentation: Piccolo, flute, oboe, cor anglais in F, clarinet in A, bass clarinet in B flat, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F, percussion (1 player), harp, strings (

Duration: 4 min.

Contents note: I. Threshold -- Eulogy.

First performance: by Harvard Group for New Music Chamber Orchestra, Bradley Lubman — 28 May 97. Paine Hall, Harvard University, USA

Performances of this work

28 May 97: Paine Hall, Harvard University, USA. Featuring Harvard Group for New Music Chamber Orchestra, Bradley Lubman.

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