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Phosphorus : for solo percussion

by May Lyon (2019)



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Work Overview

Phosphorus was commissioned by Lyn, Tim & Kris Edward, together with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for the 2019 Snare Drum Award. 2019 was the 15th year of the competition. As a commemoration the piece is based around the number 15.

Phosphorus, the element, is highly reactive and essential for biological life. It is the 15th element of the periodic table with 15 electrons, grouped as 2, 8, & 5. As with other smaller elements, it is created in a red giant star and then dispersed into space after a supernova. After this, the slow combining of phosphorus gasses become trapped in meteorites or form larger compounds in interstellar clouds. Elemental phosphorus exists in two main allotropes: white phosphorus, which is highly combustive with oxygen, and red phosphorus, combustive with fire. These reactions are termed a phosphorus sun.

The structure of the piece moves from the initial supernova to the quietness of space. The highly rhythmic and fast sections express the reactive nature of phosphorus and its transitions from white, to red, to black.

Work Details

Year: 2019

Instrumentation: Snare drum, 18" cymbal (with medium timpani mallets, drum stick, triangle beater (light & heavy), wire brushes).

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Improvisation and interpretation, rhythmically complex, highly varied techniques.

Commission note: Commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.. Commissioned by Lyn, Tim & Kris Edwards, together with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for the 2019 Snare Drum Award.

First performance: 2019. 2019 Snare Drum Awards

Performances of this work

2019: 2019 Snare Drum Awards

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