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At the melting of the snow : for soprano, alto flute and vibraphone

by Peter McNamara (2002, this version: 2018)

From the Depths


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Work Overview

At the Melting of the Snow was originally written for a larger ensemble including two voices, woodwind, string instruments and piano, but was re-arranged in 2018 for soprano, alto flute and vibraphone to include only the most fundamental and important material. The text for this work makes use of a lesser-known, but still beautifully depictive poem by A.B. (Banjo) Paterson of the same name, written in 1902, but not published until 1917. The poem depicts the amazing transformation that occurs during the spring of the Snowy Mountains, where the snow melts to reveal the green grasses and many varied wildflowers.
The poem is written in 3 stanzas that are very elegantly balanced into 44, 43 and 45 words each. While it is divided differently, the balance of the work's binary (AB) structure plus a short introduction and coda reflects this. The work's pitch material is derived from the nine-note melody stated in the alto flute during the introduction. The first 4 pitches are combined to create a tetrachord (four-note chord) and then the last five to form a pentachord (five-note chord); these are then transposed onto each pitch in the original melody, creating a total of 4 tetrachords and 5 pentachords. These are quoted in order during the first stanza of the poem, with each chord divided evenly between its 44 words, forming the work's slow "A" section. The chords are then used in reverse over the course of the faster "B" section, with each divided equally over the last two stanzas.

Work Details

Year: 2002, this version: 2018

Instrumentation: Soprano voice, alto flute, percussion.

Duration: 4 min.

Difficulty: Medium

First performance: by Sideband at Sideband: Primordial (Halfback Books / Hall's Books & Records) on 25 Aug 2018

Performances of this work

25 Aug 2018: at Sideband: Primordial (Halfback Books / Hall's Books & Records). Featuring Sideband.

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