Divisions for orchestra : full orchestra
by Alan Lawrence (1997)
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My first thoughts about this work were that it should take the form of variations for orchestra. From the outset I intended a work in which the solo instrumentalists, instrumental sections, and the orchestra as a whole should investigate the possibilities of one single theme on which the whole work would be based. Whilst I held to this objective throughout, my thinking about the overall shape of the piece changed considerably once I got into the writing process. I found that there were two distinct methods by which I wanted to vary and develop the thematic material; first through a process of fragmentation and animation and second, through extension and elongation. Thus, two separate movements appeared dealing in turn with each of these approaches. This suggested a more symphonic style than I had originally envisaged and before long a third, finale movement suggested itself and the present form of the piece was established. The word 'divisions' (in a musical context) is an obsolete term from the 17th and 18th centuries and refers to the practice of splitting up the time values of the notes in a tune as a means of creating variations. I have not used this technique in Divisions for Orchestra and the piece in no way evokes an archaic idiom but I chose to use the word as an allusion to my original impetus in writing the work.
Instrumentation: 3 flutes (2nd doubling bass flute, 3rd doubling piccolo), 3 oboes (3rd doubling cor anglais), 2 clarinets in B flat, bass clarinet in B flat, 2 bassoons, contra-bassoon, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in B flat, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (3 players), harp, strings (188.8.131.52.8).
Duration: 25 min.
Contents note: 1. Divisions -- 2. Elongations -- 3. Finale.
Dedication note: To Carol.
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