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The Green Brain : 20 movements named after insect species

by Michael Kieran Harvey (2017)

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Work Overview

The Green Brain (1966), initially published as Greenslaves, is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert. The book is set in the not-so-distant future, where humankind has all but succeeded in controlling life on the planet and almost completely wiped out insect life. This cycle is in twenty movements named after major insect genera, each of which take characteristics of the particular insect morphology and behaviour to generate a musical portrait. Overall the binding idea in the cycle is the similarity of anatomy, which nevertheless, through evolutionary pressures, has resulted in infinite diversity amongst insects, and indeed amongst all of life on earth and perhaps elsewhere in the universe. The cycle as a whole, though consisting of twenty separate pieces each based on a particular type of insect, is a contemplation on the possibility of the spontaneous emergence of superior intelligence amongst insects when faced with the devastation unleashed on the biosphere by humans.

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: Piano.

Duration: 90 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — requires virtuoso skills

Contents note: 1. Ants (dedicated to Richard Vella) -- 2. Cockroaches  -- 3. Grasshoppers (to Saxby Pridmore)
 -- 4. Mantises (to John McCaughey) -- 
5. Scorpions (to Brian Ritchie and Varuni Kulasekera) -- 
6. Beetles (to Nigel Westlake) -- 
7. Flies -- 
8. Bees (to Martin Friedel) -- 
9. Wasps -- 10. Butterflies (to John and Maria Honey) -- 11. Moths (to Gordon Marr) -- 12. Spiders (to Tom Samek) -- 13. Fleas -- 14. Ticks -- 15. Lice -- 16. Silverfish (to Raymond Shon) -- 17. Earwigs (to Gordon Rumson) -- 18. Slaters -- 19. Aphids (to Tom Vincent) -- 20. Mosquitos (to Dr Arjun Von Caemmerer).

First performance: by Michael Kieran Harvey at Objetos de Imitacion (Stanley Burbury Theatre) on 18 Jun 2017

Performances of this work

19 Jan 2018: at MOFO 2018: Michael Kieran Harvey, Arjun von Caemmerer and Brigita Ozolins - The Green Brain Cycle (Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

Jan 18: Mona Foma, Hobart. Featuring Arjun Von Caemmerer, Michael Kieran Harvey.

18 Jun 2017: at Objetos de Imitacion (Stanley Burbury Theatre). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

15 Jun 2017: at Michael Kieran Harvey - Solo recital (Trinity Grammar School, Orchestra Room). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

20 May 2016: at City of Snakes (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

19 Nov 2015: at Michael Kieran Harvey (Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music - University of Tasmania). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

16 Oct 2014: at UQ presents: Michael Kieran Harvey (Nickson Room). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

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