Uncovered Ground : large chamber ensemble
by Felicity Wilcox (2015)
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Performance by Ensemble Offspring, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 75.
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In composing this new work for Ironwood and Ensemble Offspring, I have been concerned to somehow create a dialogue between early and new music. The ground bass piece heard at the end of Uncovered Ground is the first music I composed, with the intention to echo the traditional music for consorts that was played so often during the early Baroque period. Its bass pattern was transformed into a ten-note tone row for the dissonant 'free time' passages, its melody was recycled for each of the three duets between old and new instruments, and its harmonies constitute the material for the opening and closing fanfares. Another intention has been to deliberately contrast the character of old and new instruments. This becomes a pattern throughout, beginning with casting the modern and Baroque violins in a duet, followed by dances between other old and new instrument pairs, continuing with contrasting the sound of the modern alto flute and the wooden Baroque flute, extending through to the dual personality of the grand piano with its alternation of conventional and prepared sounds, to the trio's simple statement of the original ground, after an extended dissonant passage from the whole ensemble.
Finally, it is perhaps worth sharing that in constructing Uncovered Ground I had a very clear image in mind. It was of a wall, rendered over with cement- matte, modern, loud, that was slowly being chipped away, to reveal a beautiful underside, some long-forgotten, delicate mural, rich in detail. The hammers and chisels that seek to break it open are the percussive sounds that cut across those brash, block chords, opening the way to gradually reveal in full the fragile beauty of the ever-present under-layer.
Instrumentation: Baroque violin, baroque viola, baroque cello, 8-keyed simple-system Classical flute/flute in C/alto flute, modern violin, bass clarinet, percussion, prepared piano.
Duration: 11 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Specific instrumentation, unconventional techniques and notation.
The composer notes the following subjects, genres, influences etc. associated with this work:
Early music, new music, Baroque, new ground bass, new music for consorts.
Performances of this work
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