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Liquid steel : for violin, viola, cello and double bass

by John Peterson (2002)

Liquid steel


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Liquid steel : for violin, viola, cello and double bass / John Peterson.

Library shelf no. 785.714/PET 2 [Available for loan]

Liquid steel


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Work Overview

Liquid Steel is inspired by my memories of growing up in the Illawarra region of New South Wales. The Illawarra, and in particular the area around Wollongong and Port Kembla, is noted for its natural beauty and long sandy beaches but also as the centre for a busy iron and steel industry. The steelworks at Port Kembla was at it productive peak in the late 1960's and early 1970's and at night it was often a spectacular sight: everywhere there was fire and flame, molten metal being poured from giant ladles, red-hot coking coal being forced out of enormous ovens and ribbons of molten steel being formed into long thin sheets. As a boy, I was fascinated by the steelworks and this piece was inspired by my memories of driving through the area at night during this period.

The basic musical materials of the work are derived from two whole-tone scales, while the fast tempo and additive rhythms, coupled with the use of metric modulation, propel the piece relentlessly along to its conclusion. The structure of the piece is somewhat fragmented and is partly influenced by film editing techniques; rapid changes from one scene to another are typical in film so why not in music. Thus the fragmentary style and the changing textures could be thought of as a series of scenes, reflecting the chaotic nature of the work happening in the steelmills - sometimes ferociously active, sometimes quietly agitated, sometimes fluid, and sometimes strictly mechanical.

Work Details

Year: 2002

Instrumentation: Violin, viola, cello, double bass.

Duration: 6 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Symphony Australia for performance by Sydney Symphony Fellowship with funds provided by Australia Council.

First performance: by Vaughan Hughes, Ella Brinch, Isabelle Chouinard, Sarah Clare — 15 Dec 02. Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney


Performances of this work

15 Dec 02: Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney. Featuring Vaughan Hughes, Ella Brinch, Isabelle Chouinard, Sarah Clare.

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