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The German hills (quartets: clarinet, percussion, violin, cello)

by Peter McNamara (2008)

German hills


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Score & Part

The German hills / Peter McNamara.

Library shelf no. 785.5414/MCN 1 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

The German Hills was written for Ensemble Offspring as part of the 2008 Sibelius Emerging Composer Commission and represents the 'Adelaide Hills' district in South Australia. This area has a very distinct German/Australian quality, due to the many Prussian immigrants that settled in the area after escaping political uncertainty and discrimination during the 1830s.

To represent this German/Australian fusion, the work's pitch material is based on a 9-note motif from Beethoven's Kakadu Variations op. 121a. This 9-note motif is used in a series of drones or fundamentals and is also the foundation of the work's harmonic material. The motif is split into a group of 4 and 5 pitches with the intervals of these 2 groups used to create chords over each fundamental. To open the work, these pitches appear as harmonic partials of the fundamentals, with some pitches also using microtonal alteration to give the work a spectral veneer. As the work progresses, these pitches are brought down from their original registers and used in lower registers to thicken the harmony and transform the textures.

Work Details

Year: 2008

Instrumentation: Clarinet, percussion, violin, cello.

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Some changes in regular/irregular meter and frequent use of microtones.

Written for: Ensemble Offspring

Commission note: Commissioned under the Sibelius Emerging Composer commission.

First performance: by Ensemble Offspring — 24 Oct 08. Sibelius Composer Awards Concert, Sydney Conservatorium of Music


Performances of this work

24 Oct 08: Sibelius Composer Awards Concert, Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

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