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Icy disintegration : for orchestra

by Annie Hsieh (2009)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Timothy Phillips from the CD X-ray baby

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X-ray baby


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X-ray baby / Arcko Symphonic Ensemble.

Library shelf no. CD 2515 [Not for loan]

Icy disintegration


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Icy disintegration : for orchestra / Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh.

Library shelf no. Q 784.2/HSI 1 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (2 more)  

Work Overview

The numbers of the icebergs in Antarctica and the Arctic are diminishing in a never-seen rate. Despite the normal calving processes in the life of a berg, this acceleration of melting and breaking is an alarming and potentially catastrophic phenomenon that is often suggested as the result of climate change or, a sign of global warming due to human activities.

Inspired by the disintegration of iceberg B15-A - the once world's largest free-floating object, this work is a musical correspondence to the process which led to the berg's sudden breakage in 2005. Although written as one through-composed work, the strong programmatic notion gravitates the structure into the different stages of the event- from portraying a pristine object of the sea, to the gradual appearances of fissures and cracks, to the eventual 'breaking point' and the nostalgic aftermath as the newly-formed ice floes drift to their separate directions.

The principle ideas presented in the work are assimilated from various audio recordings gathered through mediums such as Youtube videos and relevant scientific research centres around the world. These samples were then translated into pitch materials and various instrumental timbres forming the basis for gestures and motives of the work, which in all resulted in a 'metaphorical' use of orchestral colors and texture.

The serenity of icebergs have long been the staple image of the great white continent, but in this new era of climate change, the image has extended to that of uncertainty and concerns of the modern world. Global warming or not, an awareness of such changes in our surroundings should be addressed and such is the foremost conception upon conceiving Icy Disintegration.

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: Flute (doubling piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets in B flat (2nd doubling bass clarinet), bassoon (doubling contraforte), 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), prepared harp, prepared piano, strings (4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, double bass).

Duration: 9 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.. Written for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra 21st Century Cybec Composers Program

First performance: by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey — 5 May 10. CUB Malthouse, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Metropolis Series (Blood on the Floor)

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2014 Art Music Awards: Performance of the Year Finalist Arcko Symphonic Ensemble


Performances of this work

16 Aug 2023: at Winter Dreams (Llewellyn Hall ANU School of Music). Featuring Alex Briger, Canberra Symphony Orchestra.

15 Oct 2014: at ASO: Memento Mori (Grainger Studio). Featuring Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Northey.

2 Nov 13: Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne. Featuring Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Timothy Phillips.

3 Feb 2013: at The Art of Migration Festival (Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center, University of California Davis ). Featuring Christian Baldini, UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.

13 Aug 11: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Kew, Melbourne. Featuring Orchestre Nouveau.

5 May 10: CUB Malthouse, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Metropolis Series (Blood on the Floor). Featuring Bramwell Tovey, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

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