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Skin Deep : large chamber ensemble

by Kirsten Milenko (2021)

No products are available for this work

The Australian Music Centre's catalogue does not include any recordings or sheet music of this work. This entry is for information purposes only.

It is listed in our catalogue because an event featuring a performance of this work was included in our calendar of Australian music. Details of this performance are listed below.

Work Overview

Skin Deep is a setting of the Norwegian fairytale 'East of the Sun and West of the Moon' as a breaking of reverie. Following the point at which wax is spilt onto the bear and a carefully fabricated world crumbles, two densities of shadow press together like oil and water. One presents a potential for despair and apathy, while the other is fragmented and allows a chance for autonomy to surface in the otherwise-passive story of the 'one who is saved' - who moves beyond the tangible realm of known experience to demand and insight change.

The story is particularly interesting to me, as the setting details a breaking down of the "fairy-tale ending" that has become a standard for storytelling. Instead, an aftermath of journey and expectation unravels to define the narrative, and specifically for the female character to take back her narrative.

The piece specifically sketches the conversations with each of the four winds - the first three having never travelled so far, and the final North Wind agreeing to take the journey. The conversations with each of the four winds are indicated by a slowly ascending piano line, played on the upper harmonic partials to create an echoed bell-like sound. As the piece builds, so does the presence of fragmented melodic figures - before the final journey returns to a reiteration of the work's opening - removing all expectation, returning to a point of stillness. The strings are orchestrated against the woodwinds and brass like oil and water pressing together yet never blending - creating a tapestry of two worlds that are incompatible, that of pre-conceived ideals and reality.

Work Details

Year: 2021

Instrumentation: alto fl, ob, cl in A, bsn, hn in f, tpt in C, tbn, 2xperc, harp (prep), piano (prep), 2xvln, vla, v.c., d.b.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen.

Commission note: Commissioned by Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen for KLANG Festival 2021 with the support of the Danish Arts Foundation.

First performance: by Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, Pierre-Andre Valade at KLANG Festival (Konservatoriets Koncertsal) on 27 May 2021

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Spectral, Minimalist, Folklore

Performances of this work

27 May 2021: at KLANG Festival (Konservatoriets Koncertsal). Featuring Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, Pierre-Andre Valade.

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