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Opal : Double Concerto for Horns and Orchestra

by May Lyon (2021)

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The Australian Music Centre's catalogue does not include any recordings or sheet music of this work. This entry is for information purposes only.

It is listed in our catalogue because an event featuring a performance of this work was included in our calendar of Australian music. Details of this performance are listed below.

Work Overview

With shimmering veins that run through ancient rocks in the Australian outback, opal is one of the most beautiful and sought after gemstones in the world. It is created from both silica and water, combining over a millennia in cracks of stone, wood and fossils.

The combination of two elements that form one gem is represented by the two horns, weaving within the orchestra as opal does within rock, close harmonies creating glimmering frequencies. The slow movement of ancient water is a melodious line shared between each soloist, which progresses to a beautiful stillness that shows off the upper range of the horn. In opposition to this, as human industry cuts around the opal veins, different timbres and bright embellishments are exposed within a mechanistic orchestra.

Work Details

Year: 2021

Instrumentation: 2 solo horns, orchestra.

Duration: 13 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: SiO2H2O -- Cut from rock -- Water: ancient streams, flow through sandstone -- Precious opal: play of colour -- Cut from rock.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Tim Hannah & Alison McIntosh-Deszcz

Written for: Rachel Shaw, Nicolas Fleury

Commission note: Commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

First performance: by Nicolas Fleury, Rachel Shaw, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Northey at MSO: Lyon, Barber, Rautavaara (Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne) on 25 Mar 2021

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Australian mining, opal, Australia, nature, water


Resonate article: Insight: Opal - Double Concerto for Horns by May Lyon


Performances of this work

25 Mar 2021: at MSO: Lyon, Barber, Rautavaara (Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne). Featuring Nicolas Fleury, Rachel Shaw, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Northey.

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