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Flat Earth : Octet for didjeridu, string quartet and percussion x 3

by Romano Crivici (1996, this version: 2006)

Audio Sample

Performance by Elektra String Quartet, Mark Atkins, Philip South, Jess Ciampa from the CD Ebb & Flow

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Flat earth


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Flat earth / Romano Crivici.

Library shelf no. CD 806 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

Flat Earth was the first work I composed that included the Didjeridu. It was written specifically to provide an opportunity for collaboration between Mark Atkins and the Elektra String Quartet in 1996. It also provided me with an opportunity to explore and express something of my own personal relationship with the vast Australian outback, and came to be a core work in the Elektra String Quartet repertoire for quite a few years.

…distant hills, and vast, flat earth
A timeless dream, as dusk hangs low
Yet always this, and only ever this,
In silence sings, and holds, enfolds, the ebb and flow…
(R. Crivici, 28th March, 2013)

As I prepared the string version of Flat Earth publication, I started, as I am wont to do, to hear more colours, and needed to expand and develop it in ways that called for an orchestra.....

And so it is done. A few sections changed in terms of metre, so as to make it easier to conduct; apart from that, it is much the same structurally as the string version.

Work Details

Year: 1996, this version: 2006

Instrumentation: Didjeridu, string quartet, percussion (3 players).

Duration: 22 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Complex, but contemporary groove based writing.

Contents note: 1. Prelude: Ebb and Flow -- 2. Allegro.

Commission note: Commissioned by Elektra String Quartet.

First performance: by Elektra String Quartet, Mark Atkins — 9 Aug 96.

"Romano Crivici's Flat Earth reminds me of interminable trips across central Australia. The road is long and straight, parting a red, dry sea. At first it seems unchanging, repetitive, but as shapes and colours – or, in the case of Crivici's music, sounds and timbres – roll by, you tune in to the detail, gradually hearing more and more. A squeak here, a huff there, a quick glissando: sparks of colour in a fascinating sonic landscape." Harriet Cunningham, Sydney Morning Herald, 26th May, 2018

The composer notes the following reviews:
"..... This exciting work, (Flat Earth) features shifting rhythms, textures and musical mirages that weave around the didjeridu with a palpable sense of drama."Not surprisingly the writing for strings is strong and the passionate performances precise, nuanced and assured, …. Lovers of high quality contemporary string writing will find plenty to enjoy" Lisa MacKinney, Limelight Magazine, July 2018 ★★★★½

Originally part of the Elektra String Quartet national and international touring repertoire, revised and developed in 2014-15. The revised and extended final version was first recorded in 2016.

Performances of this work

9 Aug 96: featuring Elektra String Quartet, Mark Atkins.

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