Land of Cruelty : for amplified, ring-modulated oboe soloist and orchestra
by Peter McNamara (2018)
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Land of Cruelty is an experimental work written for oboe soloist and orchestra. It is dedicated to Sydney Symphony oboist Shefali Pryor, and incorporates a form of real-time electronic processing to the soloist's part known as ring-modulation. This occurs when the amplified signal of the oboe soloist is multiplied together with a modulating frequency provided by an obligato double bass player, creating a harsh but vivid sonority reminiscent of the Australian landscape.
Land of Cruelty's narrative is the depiction of harsh landscape transitions evident in our continent where an area can be densely covered in life one year, but completely dry and devoid of life the next. The oboe soloist is the navigator of this journey and depicts the 'voice of the land', with much of its melodic material influenced by transcriptions of Australian Aboriginal melodies. The pitches of one melody entitled Malayah (quoted at the opening and closing of the work) are multiplied together to create the various ring-modulated effects. Each section of the work is defined by a ring-modulated sonority realised by the oboe soloist and double bass that is then re-synthesised by the orchestra before transitioning into a more harmonious sonority. These orchestrated colours provide a sonic canvas, crafted and moulded over time, over which the oboe soloist is placed.
The creation and presentation of Land of Cruelty was made possible through the 2015 Australasian Performing Rights Association Professional Development Awards (APRA PDAs).
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (1 player), solo oboe, strings, digital ring-modulation AudioMulch software patch run from a computer.
Duration: 14 min.
Difficulty: Medium — Suitable for non-professional orchestras, professional standard performer required for oboe soloist part.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Shefali Pryor
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Spectral music, real-time electronics, Australian landscape
Performances of this work
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