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Chorale, demon, beacon, op. 51 : for bass koto and percussion quartet

by Andrew Schultz (1995)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Synergy Percussion, Kazue Sawai from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 79.

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Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 79.


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Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 79.

Library shelf no. CD 2840 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (1 more)  

Work Overview

Chorale, Demon, Beacon is a sixteen-minute work scored for the 17 string bass koto and percussion quartet. The players are arranged across the stage from left to right: Percussion 4 - Percussion 2 - Bass Koto - Percussion 1 - Percusssion 3. The 'outer' percussionists play untuned percussion to a large extent whilst the first and second players play mostly on vibraphones.

As a student in Brisbane I can recall looking in the evening at the four television towers that were perched on Mt Coot-tha. Each had a flashing light as a beacon and each light ran at a different pulse constantly changing in their overall relation to one another as they progressed in their independent cycles. Whimsically, it crossed my mind once or twice that if ever the beacons coincided something special should happen (a cosmic event or at least a good TV mini-series for example) and perhaps it did because Brisbane has changed and is no longer so quiet in the evenings.

That idea of separate but very slow pulses which rarely if ever intersect has provided the basis for a number of my pieces. In this work it is treated as the background for the development of a few fragments of material: a hymn-like phrase (heard throughout but most clearly at the end), a melodic phrase which opens the piece and various solos, duets and trios for the koto and two vibraphones. Percussion 3 and 4 play bass drums, a Korean gong and a tam tam in slow pulses doubled by bass notes in the koto; when two pulses happen at once phrases change, when three happen at once a new section starts, when all four coincide (once in the piece) things are turned on their head.

Chorale, Demon, Beacon was commissioned by Synergy Percussion for Synergy and Kazue Sawai with funding assistance from the Australia Council. The piece was composed in June and July 1995 and, in part, whilst in residence at the Leighton Studios, Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada and given its premiere in Sydney in August 1995.

Work Details

Year: 1995

Instrumentation: Bass koto, percussion (4 players).

Duration: 16 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Synergy Percussion, Kazue Sawai with funds provided by Australia Council.

First performance: by Synergy Percussion, Kazue Sawai — 12 Aug 95. Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Sydney

Performances of this work

12 Aug 95: Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Sydney. Featuring Synergy Percussion, Kazue Sawai.

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