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A wilderness of mirrors : for solo E flat clarinet and ensemble

by Elliott Gyger (1996)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Gilles Plante, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Lorraine Vaillancourt from the CD Deleted on 5 Apr 13 wilderness of mirrors

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Works by Batterham, Gyger, Hindson.


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


Works by Batterham, Gyger, Hindson.

Library shelf no. CD 2408 [Available for loan]

wilderness of mirrors


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A wilderness of mirrors : for solo E flat clarinet and ensemble / by Elliott Gyger.

Library shelf no. Q 785.5219/GYG 1 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (1 more)  

Work Overview

A wilderness of mirrors takes its title from a line in T.S.Eliot's poem Gerontion. My reading of the phrase, however, is not necessarily the same as that of Eliot's "old man in a dry month". My work explores the idea that in the wilderness one is brought face to face with oneself, as the ultimate test of strength and courage.

The protagonist, a solo E flat clarinet, begins the piece alone, and is subsequently confronted with the indifference and hostility of the rest of the ensemble. In the course of the piece, however, the gulf between the two gradually closes, moving through cooperation to claustrophobia as it becomes clear that the ensemble's music is actually the same as the clarinet's music. This is realized structurally through a single huge canon: the various sections of the ensemble imitate the clarinet line in rhythmic diminution, starting between three and six minutes behind the soloist and gradually catching up over the length of the whole work. The emergence from the ensemble of a second E flat clarinet - the literal mirror of the soloist - tips the final phase of the music over into violence and hysteria.

Work Details

Year: 1996

Instrumentation: Solo E flat clarinet, alto flute in G (also medium woodblack), cor anglais in F, bass clarinet in B flat (also 2nd E flat clarinet), bassoon, horn in F, trumpet in C, bass trombone (also small woodblock), celesta (also large tom-tom), percussion (1 player), 2 violins (2nd also large woodblock), viola, cello, double bass.

Duration: 20 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Written for: Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne

First performance: by Gilles Plante, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Lorraine Vaillancourt — 28 Nov 96. Salle Claude-Champagne, Université de Montréal, Canada

Performances of this work

8 Oct 2011: at Arcko Symhponic Project: Two New Plus! (Northcote Town Hall). Featuring Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Karen Heath, Timothy Phillips.

6 Aug 2011: at Arcko Symphonic Project: Four Winds (Richmond Uniting Church). Featuring Karen Heath, Arcko Symphonic Ensemble.

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