Distant Solo (solo vibraphone)
by Elena Kats-Chernin (2020)
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Distant Solo was commissioned by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra soon after the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia. It forms part of the online Australian Miniseries, a collection of 15 new works for solo instrument. Amid concert cancellations, this project was a sign of hope for composers, performers, listeners, music makers and facilitators behind the scenes.
I wrote this piece for solo vibraphone over a few weeks in July / August 2020. I workshopped the piece with Veronica Bailey, CSO Principal Percussion, in the only way possible - from a distance. I sent her my handwritten drafts, later typeset with some red pen markings. She sent back recordings. I asked her which version of the piece she preferred (there were several at the start!), and which kinds of mallets she thought would be best suited to the piece (the answer = soft mallets). She suggested a particular pedalling technique which I really like, so it got notated in the score. Some of our discussion was about the nature and the length of the transition from the opening, slower texture into the more active section. The overall mood of the piece is of haunted subduedness and atmospheric mystery.
Distant Solo is very much a result of Veronica's input. I am very grateful for her talent and the time she gave me so generously over the course of composing this miniature.
— Elena Kats-Chernin AO
Written for: Veronica Bailey
Commission note: Commissioned by Canberra Symphony Orchestra.. Written as part of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra's 2020 Australian Miniseries.
Performances of this work
19 Aug 20: Online (streaming only). Featuring Veronica Bailey.
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