Landscape of diffracted colours : for mixed ensemble and pre-recorded electronics
by Peter McNamara (2005)
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Landscape of Diffracted Colours was written in 2005 and is scored for mixed ensemble and pre-recorded electronics. It was first performed at the 2007 Asia Pacific Festival in Wellington, New Zealand and was awarded second Prize the Asian Composers League Young Composers Award at the same event. The work's title refers to the many different colours found in the Australian landscape and how the light of these colours can be bent and diffracted. Some of this imagery includes shimmering, where light is bent by Australia's extreme heat and the rich and dark colours of sandstone, which is visible because of reflection and diffraction from elements of its composition.
The work's harmonic material is based on the harmonic series of four fundamentals. The ensemble and electronics work together to synthesise various tone colours and transform them over time. There is also interplay between the two parts where the colouristic resonance of the ensemble is morphed into a different colour by the electronic part.
Divided into three sections, Landscape of Diffracted Colours' first section is very intense and contrasts very dense, raw and almost primal sounding material with a light and very open sounding texture. Each fundamental is used separately and is subject to some kind of timbre transformation such as distortion etc. This changes towards the end of the first section as some fundamentals and textures are used simultaneously. The second section is calmer and very sostenuto with a sense of more metric freedom than the stricter first section. Lyrical material in the piano and winds appears as a contrast to the heavier first section. After a solo for the electronic part, the work returns to the material of the first section, but with further development. The textures and fundamentals progressively overlap more and more until the climax of the work, after which the work's colours gradually fade away.
Instrumentation: Piccolo/flute, oboe, clarinets (in B flat and bass in B flat), piano, percussion, violin, viola, cello, pre-recorded electronics.
Duration: 8 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional
Contents note: In 3 sections.
First performance: by SCM Modern Music Ensemble — 27 Oct 05. Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Resonate article: Insight: Freedom within the prism by Peter McNamara
Resonate article: Composer/Performer Notes by Australian Music Centre
Resonate article: Composer Notes - June 2008 by Australian Music Centre
- Inspired by: Landscape and Nature
Performances of this work
15 Dec 10: Performed by Students of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. Featuring Bart Bouckaert.
26 Sep 08: ISCM World Music Days, National Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius, Lithuania. Featuring Ensemble Modern.
2 Apr 08: Alte Oper, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Featuring Ensemble Modern.
15 Feb 07: Asia-Pacific Festival, 'Young Turks', St Andrews on The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand. Featuring Stroma Ensemble.
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