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Butterfly modernism : for piano quintet

by Eve Duncan (2011)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Michael Kieran Harvey, Silo String Quartet from the CD Deleted on 7 Nov 13 Butterfly modernism

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Butterfly modernism / chamber music by Eve Duncan.

Library shelf no. CD 2444 [Available for loan]

Butterfly modernism


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Work Overview

Butterfly Modernism is inspired by a beach house near Bass Strait and Westernport Bay designed by WoodMarsh Architects, which was built in 2010. Its graceful curved rendered walls, its butterfly floor plan design, the undulating passageways and gentle, magical atmosphere have led to the nickname of Butterfly House also being bestowed by those who have seen it. It marks the change in beach house architecture around beach area with proximity to Melbourne over the fifty year period, where organic forms, the use of dense materials such as stone and concrete, and curved walls and ceilings have been incorporated. It is a graceful and dramatic architectural response to the beauty of the Bass Strait coast line, the warmth and security of the coastal village nearby, and the natural haven that gentler Westernport Bay offers from the wilder seas outside.

In this piece I have incorporated first of all the contrast of the yin of gentler elements, encapsulated in cloud of butterflies that I kept passing through as I explored the surrounding coastal country, with the yang of the wild seas beating against the rocks around the Nobbies in the distance. The piece then moves into depicting the curves and dimensions of the beach house with the changing nearby sea levels, using the mathematics of these rising and falling levels and their rate of change as given in the 2011 Tide Guide. In the final section I find musical correlations with the drama and rhythm of the architectural dimensions. Like the Chancellor and Patrick McCraith House of fifty years before, the WoodMarsh house also takes beach architecture to a new stage.

Work Details

Year: 2011

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello, piano.

Duration: 11 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Gemma Cooke, architect

Commission note: Commissioned by Arts Victoria.

First performance: by Michael Kieran Harvey, Silo String Quartet at Butterfly Modernism (Mornington Peninsula Regional Art Gallery ) on 17 Apr 2011


Resonate article: Eve Duncan’s Butterfly Modernism by Corrina Bonshek


Performances of this work

26 Oct 2016: at Butterfly Modernism (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Silo String Quartet, Michael Kieran Harvey.

17 Apr 2011: at Butterfly Modernism (Mornington Peninsula Regional Art Gallery ). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey, Silo String Quartet.

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