Enter your username and password

Forgotten your username or password?

Your Shopping Cart

There are no items in your shopping cart.


Continuum : full orchestra

by Stephen Holgate (1984)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Richard Mills from the CD Tower of the spirit

Selected products featuring this work — Display all products (1 more)

Tower of the spirit


This item may be available to purchase from the Australian Music Centre.
Please contact our Sales Department to confirm pricing and availability.


Tower of the spirit / Stephen Holgate.

Library shelf no. CD 577 [Available for loan]



Add to cart


Continuum : for orchestra / by Stephen Holgate.

Library shelf no. 784.2/HOL 6 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (1 more)  

Work Overview

Continuum is a single-movement work in three sections. The first and last sections use a more conventional and what could be termed 'macro' harmonic and melodic language with dramatic use of a large percussion section. The central section of the work transitions into the 'micro' or interior level of sound itself - integrating the composer's interest in the so-called 'spectral' music of French composers Tristan Murail and Gerard Grisey (who were presenters at the 1980 Darmstadt International Summerschool of New Music in Germany, attended by Holgate). In this section, complex acoustic phenomena such as the overtone spectra, modulation, filters, formants etc (which determine natural sound colour or timbre) are orchestrated or synthesized by acoustic instruments to create a dynamic web of evolving textures and sonic clusters, frequently fused together by the use of percussion and woodwind multiphonics. Musically, the work is then a 'continuum' between the macro and micro worlds of sound as well as suggesting an analogy with life itself, which is continually in transition from birth, through growth, assimilation and conflict to death.

Continuum was Stephen Holgate's first orchestral work, composed whilst a Fellowship participant in the 1984 National Young Composers' School - jointly sponsored by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Music Board of the Australia Council.

Work Details

Year: 1984

Instrumentation: 2 flutes (one doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (one doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 percussion, strings, (no trombones).

Duration: 13 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — woodwind multiphonics in places; graduated dynamics markings; detailed percussion;

Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia Council. Music Board.

First performance: by ABC Sinfonia, Wilfred Lehmann — 19 May 84. ABC studios Chatswood, Sydney.

Continuum was included in the SSO’s “Meet the Music” series in the Sydney Opera House and Newcastle in May 1987. The 13 May performance was broadcast nationally on ABC-FM 13/5/1987 (direct to air broadcast), 27/7/1987 and 12/9/1987 including an on-stage interview between the composer and John Hopkins. An educational Teaching Kit including cassette recording and interview with Stephen Holgate and conductor Richard Mills was prepared by Brett Johnson (Education Officer, SSO) for students attending the 1987 "Meet the Music" concert.

The composer notes the following styles, influences, genres, themes, etc. associated with this work:
sound synthesis; percussion; Gerard Grisey; Tristan Murail; Conyngham; colour; timbre; harmony; mysterious melody.


Performances of this work

14 May 87: “Meet the Music”, Newcastle NSW. Featuring Sydney Symphony Orchestra, John Hopkins.

13 May 87: “Meet the Music”, Sydney Opera House. Featuring John Hopkins, Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

12 May 87: “Meet the Music”, Sydney Opera House. Featuring John Hopkins, Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

19 Nov 86: ABC studios Brisbane. Featuring Richard Mills, Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

19 May 84: ABC studios Chatswood, Sydney.. Featuring ABC Sinfonia, Wilfred Lehmann.

User reviews

Be the first to share your thoughts, opinions and insights about this work.

To post a comment please login.