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Fatamorgana (sextets: flute, clarinet, piano, marimba, violin, cello)

by Bozidar Kos (2004)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Ensemble Offspring from the CD Springtime

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Springtime / Ensemble Offspring

Library shelf no. CD 2085 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

Fata = Italian for fairy
Morgana (or Morgan le Fay) = half sister of the legendary King Arthur, usually represented as a scheming, evil fairy who seeks King Arthur's death

Traditionally the word fatamorgana (or Fata Morgana) has been used to describe an optical illusion (mirage) in deserts, resulting from a heated or a very cooled air, when a traveller sees objects that don't exist.

In my composition the title Fatamorgana is used as a metaphor for a deceptive/illusive hope. This was the first composition I wrote after my wife's death. During a relatively short period of her illness she was undergoing a series of tests, each associated with some hope that the disease could perhaps be beaten, only to be followed by a series of disappointments and eventually by a cruel realisation of the inevitable.

The composer's comments on the role of the percussion in the piece are suggestive in the light of the above comments, as he says that the vibraphone is to sound in the distance, "painfully present, in the air and annoying." And the role of the marimba is to interfere with some of the other elements in the piece. The other instruments again form distinct layers: generally the strings provide a quiet background in contrast to the melodic or linear utterances of the flute and clarinet. Three of the sections heard towards of the beginning of the piece return at its end, but only distantly recognisable as their material is played backwards and inverted (turned upside down).

Work Details

Year: 2004

Instrumentation: Flute, clarinet in B flat, vibraphone (doubling marimba), violin, cello.

Duration: 16 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Ensemble Offspring with funds provided by Australia Council. Music Board.

First performance: by Ensemble Offspring — 4 Jul 04. Sydney Conservatorium of Music


Resonate article: Ensemble Offspring - Thirteen Colours by Phil Vendy

Performances of this work

23 Jun 2016: at ANAM Australian Voices: Damien Ricketson (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

30 May 2009: at Ensemble Offspring (Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music). Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

29 Apr 2009: at Ensemble Offspring (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

4 Jul 04: Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

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