Enter your username and password

Forgotten your username or password?

Your Shopping Cart

There are no items in your shopping cart.


The elements : for violin

by Andrián Pertout (2009)

Audio Sample

Performance by Carmine Marcello Rizzi from the CD Celebrating twenty years

Celebrating twenty years


This item may be available to purchase from the Australian Music Centre.
Please contact our Sales Department to confirm pricing and availability.


Celebrating twenty years / Melbourne Composers' League.

Library shelf no. CD 2903 [Not for loan]



Add to cart


The elements : for violin / Andrián Pertout.

Library shelf no. 787.2/PER 3 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

The Elements was commissioned by American violinist Piotr Szewczyk and is a dedication to the late French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). The title is in reference to Euclid's mathematical and geometric treatise Elements of circa 300 BC, and the work serves as an exploration of Messiaen's 'Modes of Limited Transposition' and 'Nonretrogradable Rhythms' within the structural framework of the first 36 prime numbers (2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97, 101, 103, 107, 109, 113, 127, 131, 137, 139, 149, and 151). Every possible mode is subsequently generated from each of the seven 'Modes of Limited Transposition', producing a collection of twenty-two scales, which are combined to produce one-, two-, three-, and four-octave scales. 'Nonretrogradable Rhythms' are then constructed within the scope of each prime, with each numerical value of a prime allocated a duration of a semiquaver note. The structure of The Elements essentially features seven distinct sections individually dedicated to one of the 'Modes of Limited Transposition' and five unique 'Nonretrogradable Rhythms'; an ornamental rhythmic passage following the termination of each section acting as a type of coda. The ratio of 2:1:2 (equal to crotchet+semiquaver+crotchet in the prime number 5) is utilized throughout the rhythmic scheme to delineate a contrasting central region equal to one-fifth of each of the thirty-four quintal palindromes (the primes 2 and 3 unable to yield a palindrome in the context of this scheme).

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: Violin.

Duration: 5 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional

Dedication note: Hommage à Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)

Commission note: Commissioned by American Violinist Piotr Szewczyk

First performance: 24 Nov 12. Melbourne Composers’ League ‘Four Colours: Indigo’ Concert, Trinity Uniting Church, Brighton, Melbourne, Australia

The composer cites the following influences on this work:

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ‘Modes of Limited Transposition’, ‘Nonretrogradable Rhythms’, Euclid’s mathematical and geometric treatise Elements

Winner in the ‘Advanced Level’ Category of the International Music Prizes for Excellence in Composition 2009 (Thessaloniki, Greece)

Performances of this work

24 Nov 12: Melbourne Composers’ League ‘Four Colours: Indigo’ Concert, Trinity Uniting Church, Brighton, Melbourne, Australia

User reviews

Be the first to share your thoughts, opinions and insights about this work.

To post a comment please login.