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Bell weather : after 'Monaro' by Rosalie Gascoigne

by James Ledger (2008)

Bell weather


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Bell weather / James Ledger

Library shelf no. Q 785.3219/LED 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Bell Weather is scored for a mixed ensemble of seven wind players, two horns, five string players and a percussionist who plays tubular bells and glockenspiel. Additionally, there is a keyboard player who plays and manipulates pre-recorded samples. One of the interesting aspects of modern sampling techniques is the ability to manipulate sounds into something quite unrecognisable from the original. There is also the ability to take acoustic instruments and play them in a superhuman fashion. For example, by taking a sampled set of tubular bells, I was able to 'play' them on the keyboard as though they were, say, a violin. I could apply vibrato and glissandi to the notes, or I could apply subtle timbral variation to a held note. This, quite clearly, is impossible to do on the acoustic bells.

Work Details

Year: 2008

Instrumentation: Flute (doubling piccolo & alto flute), oboe, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B flat, bass clarinet, contra-bassoon, 2 horns, percussion (1 player), MIDI keyboard with laptop computer running Ableton LIVE software, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass.

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional

Commission note: Commissioned by Symphony Australia for performance by WASO Chamber Players with funds provided by Australia Council. Music Board.

First performance: by WASO Chamber Players, John Harding — 15 Aug 08. Art Gallery of Western Australia

Inspired by New Zealand artist Rosalie Gascoigne's work 'Monaro'.


Program note: James Ledger's "Bell weather"
program note by the composer


Performances of this work

15 Aug 08: Art Gallery of Western Australia. Featuring WASO Chamber Players, John Harding.

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