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A line has two (soprano with chamber ensemble and electronics)

by Damien Ricketson (2004)

Audio Sample

Performance by Ensemble Offspring, Roland Peelman from the CD Selected works by AMC represented artists, vol. 34.

Selected works by AMC represented artists, vol. 34.


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Selected works by AMC represented artists, vol. 34.

Library shelf no. CD 2472 [Available for loan]

line has two


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Work Overview

A Line Has Two was written in collaboration with the Australian poet Christopher Wallace-Crabbe. The work explores themes of impermanence and the passing of time. The audience receives the text in written, spoken and sung forms in such a way that each form presents a subtle variation of the same idea. The themes of valediction and renewal that pervade the text are represented by two musical quotes from the Romantic composers Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. The 'farewell' of Mahler's The Song of the Earth is used to represent the desire to hold onto life in the face of death, while the 'chorus of the unborn children' from Strauss' opera The Woman Without a Shadow is used to represent emerging life: time yet to be experienced. The two quotes form musical materials that are used throughout the work, sometimes manipulated, sometimes explicit. In further reference to the Strauss, which included the last known use of the glass harmonica, A Line Has Two, features 12 bowed glasses arranged in a geometric star around which the performers circle playing interlocking patterns. The bowed glasses are just one of numerous exotic instruments used throughout the work, another being the aulos, an ancient Greek reed instrument.

Work Details

Year: 2004

Instrumentation: Soprano, aulos, 2 clarinets, 2 percussion, pre-recorded audio, numerous auxiliary instruments.

Duration: 45 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Emma Pierce

First performance: by Ensemble Offspring, Roland Peelman — 29 Jul 04. The Studio, Sydney Opera House, Sydney.

Based on a text, 'The Alignments', by Christopher Wallace-Crabbe.

Aulos part is scored for an undefined reed instrument

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2006 Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize Highly Commended Damien Ricketson


Performances of this work

29 Jul 04: The Studio, Sydney Opera House, Sydney.. Featuring Ensemble Offspring, Roland Peelman.

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