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Field-Notes for the War against England : a song-cycle setting of the poem by Keith Harrison

by Ron Nagorcka (2019)

Work Overview

The piece is a setting of Keith Harrison's epic poem of the same name (written in 1987) which is reproduced in full in the introductory pages of the score. It reflects a strong anti-imperialist message ("my mind pitching against the granite conundrums of our history") pondered as bombs dropped on Baghdad in the first Iraq war.

Work Details

Year: 2019

Instrumentation: Baritone or basso profondo (singing an octave lower), midi keyboard controlling computer with audio software, optional double bass or bass clarinet.

Duration: 22 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — In 7 time. Microtonal (36 tones per octave tuned in just intonation)

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc in relation to this work:

The use of a 36 tone untempered scale ("just intonation") follows my strong and long held interest in microtonalism. Intervals may sound strange at first but they are all perfectly in tune (unlike any interval in equal temperament). The possible harmonic variety is far greater and in no way sounds "atonal". The influence of USA composers such as Harry Partch and Ben Johnston can be seen clearly along with more recent developments in notation.


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