To the Heavens : wind quintet
by Stephen Holgate (1985)
Performance by Victorian Wind Quintet of Bendigo from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 144.
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To the Heavens (1985) was commissioned by the Bendigo Sandhurst Building Society (now the Bendigo Bank) with financial assistance from the Australia Council, for the Victorian Wind Quintet - the ensemble was working at the time with the 'Bendigo Musician Teacher Project', a joint initiative of the State Government's Arts and Education ministries.
To the Heavens is a work in four movements. The title evokes the idea of an offering and also reflects the orientation of characteristic major landmarks in Bendigo - gold-mine poppet heads and church spires stand out from their surrounding landscapes and point 'to the heavens', as do the red ironbark trees in the bush adjacent to Bendigo. These landmarks suggest a searching in the spiritual, secular and environmental domains and are given some expression in this work by musical landmarks which stand out from the surrounding soundscape and point in various directions.
Each movement is constructed on various pitches from the overtone spectra of Eb. Movements I and III utilize spectral sound synthesis techniques together with multiphonics (in a sense, "chords" played on individual instruments) to explore the area between harmonic ideas/chords and timbre (sound colour). Movement II features repeated ostinato-like ideas influenced by the composer's interests in music for children and the second subject further develops melodic material from the composer's work Continuum for orchestra. The final movement draws together various ostinato ideas with timbral construction techniques employed in previous movements.
(Adapted from the original program note by the composer 2017)
Instrumentation: Flute (or piccolo), oboe (or cor Anglais), Bb clarinet (or Eb clarinet), French horn, bassoon, percussion.
Duration: 15 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Involves advanced techniques including multiphonics.
Contents note: In 4 movements.
Commission note: Commissioned for the Victorian Wind Quintet of Bendigo by the Bendigo Sandhurst Building Society with assistance from the Music Board of the Australia Council
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