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Cycles & circles : flexible instrumentation

by James Humberstone (2012)

Cycles & circles


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Score & Part

Cycles & circles / James Humberstone.

Library shelf no. 785/HUM 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Cycles and Circles can be performed on two unspecified pitched percussion instruments, an unspecified bass instrument and programmable music boxes (that respond to a pre-punched scroll similar to a pianola). In this version, the delicate twinkle of the music boxes is mirrored in the rather unusual soundworld of pitched ceramic bowls (the cheap Chinese variety that can be found in most two-dollar shops) and a bass clarinet. Another facet of openness relates to the harmonic colour of the work. The melodic material is conceived as simple contours (a sequence of scale degrees) rather than specific pitches. As such, the melodies may be rendered into a variety of possible modes at the discretion of the performers. Further, each musician plays their repeated melodic cells in a pattern of their own choosing free to meander away from (and even deliberately out of time with) their fellow ensemble members. The correspondence of pitches and rhythms gently shift in an out of focus like a delicate machine holding onto a fragile sense of synchronicity. - Damien Ricketson

Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: Two percussionists playing any pitched percussion (punch cards for programmable music boxes provided) and any bass instrument (all transpositions provided).

Difficulty: Medium — Work is open to interpretation, but individual material not very difficult.

Commission note: Commissioned by Ensemble Offspring.. Commissioned by Ensemble Offspring for their 'Music to Infinity' tour.

First performance: by Ensemble Offspring — 15 Sep 12. Clarence Valley Conservatorium, Grafton, NSW


Performances of this work

9 Sep 2016: at Ensemble Offspring at Tyalgum Music Festival (Tyalgum Hall). Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

29 Jun 14: Petersham Bowling Club, NSW. Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

13 Sep 2013: at Music to Infinity 2013 (The Capital, Capital Theatre). Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

15 Sep 12: Clarence Valley Conservatorium, Grafton, NSW. Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

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