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Quicksilver elegy : for four instruments, in memoriam Elliott Carter

by Elliott Gyger (2013)

Quicksilver elegy


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Quicksilver elegy : for four instruments, in memoriam Elliott Carter / by Elliott Gyger.

Library shelf no. 785.5414/GYG 3 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

A memorial piece for the great American composer Elliott Carter, who died in 2012 just a few weeks short of his 104th birthday. His music has been a constant source of inspiration and challenge, particularly in the way it combines precise structural control with narrative drama and gestural spontaneity.

The piece achieves a wide rhythmic variety without the use of a single triplet, quintuplet or other irregular grouping: apparent contrasts of speed are effected purely through different beat lengths at the same notated tempo. The temporal structure is based on the number 104, arranged as a Carterian structural polyrhythm of 13 x 8, while the pitch materials are derived from a cipher of Carter's name. All the possible subsets (solos, duos, trios) of the unusual instrumental quartet are explored in the work, which charts a whimsical course from energetic opening to reflective close; the periodic intrusion of silence is perhaps the most directly elegiac aspect of the music.

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Bass flute, soprano saxophone, vibraphone, guitar.

Duration: 6 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Kay Zhang.

First performance: by Quicksilver Ensemble — 15 Aug 13. Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc on this work:
influenced by Elliott Carter

Performances of this work

21 May 2018: at Elliott Gyger at 50 (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) New Music Ensemble.

15 Aug 13: Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne. Featuring Quicksilver Ensemble.

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