Silva : percussion concerto
by Mary Finsterer (2012)
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Silva derives from Latin, meaning forest, and
provides the inspiration for this percussion concerto. With an
aim to evoke different impressions of the forest, the work opens
with an atmospheric ambience, giving a feeling of largeness
through space and time. It looks out, as if to experience the
forest through layers of branches and leaves, these represented
by the whimsical, faster moving soft gestures of the woodwinds
and string harmonics. The second section provides a stark
contrast, introducing the earthy timbres of the tom toms set
against the vibraphone, offering an impression of the forest from
a completely different perspective. If the first section
represents the leaves and branches and openness of the sky, then
this section signifies the timber and soil that beds the forest,
highlighting the percussion as other instruments interplay to
create the harmonic layers.
The thematic material of the work relates to the idea of memory, where musical fragments from Tallis's Spem in alium and Schubert's Death and the Maiden are entwined in a recurring figure that characterises the opening and final sections of the work. The harmonic treatment of the work originates from these two quotes which are then developed as a result of my research into the Renaissance period.
The idea of the forest has always figured high in our collective consciousness. Through the stories we first heard as children, the forest plays on our imagination as a place of wonder, escape, danger and adventure. In many folk tales the forest is even seen as forbidden - a place full of mystery and shadows. In the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, 'It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.' MF
Instrumentation: Flute, clarinet in Bb, piano, violin, cello, solo percussion (vibraphone, 3 cymbals, 2 tom toms, DFC high gongs, G low gong, bow, various mallets).
Duration: 16 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional standard (conductor might be required)
Dedication note: Dedicated to Tasmin Cowling
The composer notes the following influences, etc associated with this work:
Schubert, Tallis and the Renaissance period
Performances of this work
12 Dec 18: OFF-Theater, Vienna, Austria. Featuring ensemble xx. jahrhundert.
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