Threnody for Chernobyl : variations on a twelve tone theme, for solo guitar
by Richard Charlton (1986)
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Library shelf no. CD 52 [Available for loan]
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The "Threnody" was written in 1986 about the events that year in Chernobyl. It was originally commissioned by Timothy Kain for the Canberra School of Music's Bicentennial Recording project, the "Anthology of Australian Music on Disc".
Rather than being an actual description of a nuclear disaster it is more a lament & a commentary on man's technology out of control!
It is subtitled "Variations on a Twelve Tone Theme" but the Row is treated tonally rather than atonally. The forward stepping motion of the Row represents progress or technological achievement - the theme played in retrograde is more lyrical and humane.
Essentially the work is a struggle for control between these two aspects of the theme. The benedictory natural harmonics at the work's conclusion, writes Andrew Ford, "are eloquent in their sad implacability and remind us of Wilfred Owen's statement that - All a poet can do today is warn".
Duration: 9 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Tim Kain. for Timothy Kane
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