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Almanac of Endings : a journal for violin and cello

by Jack Symonds (2015)

Work Overview

This duo is laid out in two large parts: opposite in intent, affect and construction, but identical in material.

Part One consists of fourteen miniature movements, each potentially the ending of a larger work. They synecdochically create a landscape of constantly shifting emphasis, suggesting worlds far larger than their brief span. Three movements are Breaths: soft, isolated gestures depicting the body's natural state. Two movements are Inarguable: a tough, hocketing tussle between the instruments, neither giving way. There are also two Frustrations: each gesture stymied and cauterised before being allowed to bloom, as well as two Seances: woozy, fevered dreams reaching hysterical climaxes of extreme registers. There is a tense, slow Requiem (perhaps for Luigi Nono) and its echo, and three movements inspired by operas by Hans Werner Henze: a dance for the eponymous bird of his late l'Upupa, a window into the dreams of his teenage anti-hero in Gogo no eiko, and a picture of the elusive Edelweiss flower atop the mountain in Elegy for Young Lovers.

Part Two is a single, through-composed movement synthesising all the material of the above, and representing a possible world in which all the different fragments may coexist. It is largely fast and rhythmic, and expands beyond the harmonic constrictions of Part One to produce counterpoint and a rigorous dialogue for the players. It eventually breaks itself down into its constituent parts and produces an open ending, perhaps for a whole new cycle to begin.

Work Details

Year: 2015

Instrumentation: Violin, cello.

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: Part One: Breath (1) -- Inarguable (1) -- Breath (2) -- Frustration (1) -- Seance (1) -- Upupas Tanz -- A little Requiem -- Epilogue to a Requiem -- Inarguable (2) -- Dreamsong -- Frustration (2) -- Seance (2) -- Cold Mountain Flower -- Breath (3) -- Part Two: Allegro energico.

Commission note: Commissioned by Affinity Collective.

First performance: by Affinity Collective — 27 Nov 15. ANAM, VIC

Performances of this work

27 Nov 15: ANAM, VIC. Featuring Affinity Collective.

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