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Three Aspects of the Absolute : for piano trio

by James Cuddeford (2010)

Three Aspects of the Absolute


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Three Aspects of the Absolute : for piano trio / James Cuddeford.

Library shelf no. 785.2813/CUD 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

My Piano Trio Three Aspects of the Absolute was composed between October 2009 and July 2010. The title refers to a "cosmic" painting from 1823 by the Indian Nath artist Bulaki. This is an extraordinary painting, a triptych depicting the universe's formation. The first part consists only of an abstracted monochrome expanse of gold leaf (the cosmic void). In the second, a seated blissful yogi figure appears upon this background, and in the third a mass of matter surrounds the figure and encroaches on the underlying gold leaf. This powerful painting would closely relate to works by 20th Century artists such as Rothko, Newman and Bacon if viewed from the narrow perspective of Western Art History and ignoring any religious connotations.

Bulaki's painting was a central inspiration for my trio, although I was already well underway with the work's composition when I first viewed it. The painting helped crystallize various processes in my own work, encouraging me to allow the form of the trio to unfold organically and instinctively. The work also expands upon gestures used in earlier compositions of mine, such as Winter Song (2006) for violin and piano. The trio is in one continuous movement lasting around 13 minutes, and is ideally programmed at the beginning of a concert.

Work Details

Year: 2010

Instrumentation: Violin, cello, piano.

Duration: 13 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Ars Musica Australis, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.. Commissioned for '101 Compositions for 100 years'.

First performance: by Apollo Trio — 9 Aug 10. Sydney Conservatorium of Music, NSW


Performances of this work

9 Aug 10: Sydney Conservatorium of Music, NSW. Featuring Apollo Trio.

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