...a sneaking suspicion...

piano - 4 hands.

2002: 6 mins.

  

...a sneaking suspicion... calls for flair, precision, and a subtle sense of humour.

  

Alter(n)ations

piano, vibes.

2006 rev. 2012-14: 7 mins. 30 secs. approx.

  

Alter(n)ations began life in 2006 as a trio for vibes, piano and harpsichord, and was programmed for the debut concert of the Canadian ensemble Contemporary Keyboard Society. Although the concert duly went ahead, the premiere of Alter(n)ations was deferred on 'workload grounds' and later, on the departure of the percussionist from the group, suspended indefinitely.

In 2012 I attempted to re-ignite interest in the sadly neglected score, recasting it as a duo for piano and harpsichord. This initial reworking was likewise disregarded but, having decided that the material deserved the chance to find a proper home, I opted to create one last version - this time for piano and vibraphone. This final incarnation of Alter(n)ations was completed in October 2014 and has a duration of approximately 7 1/2 minutes.

     

Clash

2 percussionists (xylophone, vibraphone).

2006: 3 mins. approx.

  

Clash can be performed either as a standalone work, or as the sixth of seven in the cycle The Eternal Surge.

  

“Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.”

                                from Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night, by Dylan Thomas.

  

Clash is dedicated to Eugene Ughetti & Matthias Schack-Arnott.

It was premiered by SPEAK Percussion on 18-9-2010 at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Score Sample (PDF)

  

Espiral

oboe, vibes.

2012: 7 mins. approx.

  

“The spiral is a spiritualized circle.

In the spiral form, the circle, uncoiled, unwound, has ceased to be vicious;

it has been set free…”

                                   from Speak, Memory, by Vladimir Nabokov.

  

Espiral was completed in April 2012, and is approx. 7 mins. long.

Score Sample (PDF)

  

Immer

2.5' Shakuhachi, harpsichord.

2002: 5 mins. 30 secs.

  

Immer [German: always, ever] concerns itself in various ways with notions of simplicity/complexity, [the title of the piece coming from a quote attributed to Beethoven concerning his desire to make his piano writing ‘immer simpler’] and conflict/resolution, [the unusual combination of Shakuhachi/Harpsichord, their respective traditions/histories, playing with/against each other].

 The shakuhachi is also at times called upon to play material that is normally considered to be rather outside its comfort zone - the result therefore being somewhat uncertain. It should be noted that in these instances it is not so much the achievement of a 'perfect' performance that is important; it is the pursuit of such.

Immer was premiered on 15/11/2002 by the duo Questing Spirit (Anne Norman, shakuhachi, and Peter Hagen, harpsichord) at the Boite World Music Cafe, Melbourne.

Peter Hagen & Anne Norman.

  

...in a yellow wood...

2 guitars.

2011: 5 mins. 45 secs. approx.

  

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could…”

                                                        from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.  

  

...in Coils...

oboe, viola.

2008 rev 2011: 4 mins. 30 secs. approx.

  

"....Alice......turned to the Mock Turtle, and said `What else had you to learn?'

Well, there was Mystery,' the Mock Turtle replied, counting off the subjects on his flappers, `-- Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seaography: then Drawling--the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: HE taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils.'

`What was THAT like?' said Alice.

`Well, I can't show it you myself,' the Mock Turtle said: `I'm too stiff. And the Gryphon never learnt it.'....."

                                       from ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, by Lewis Carroll.

  

...in Coils was completed in January 2008, revised in 2011 and is approx. 4 1/2 mins. long.

Score Sample (PDF)

  

...of two minds...

alto flute, guitar.

2008: 5 mins. 30 secs. approx.

  

...of two minds... was premiered by Carla Rees and David Black at All Saints Church, Oakleigh Park, London on 23/3/2009.

 

Carla Rees & David Black.

Photo: Derek Rees

  

...on the edges of a plan...

flute, piano.

2014: 6 mins. approx.

  

“Pinned my hopes on vanishing lands

Thought I could be caught like

Smoke with two hands, alive

I’m a Wanderer on the edges of a plan…”

     from The Wanderer, by A Lonely Crowd (Luke Ancell, Scott Ancell, Xen Havales)

  

...on the edges of a plan... was completed in March 2014, and is approx. 6 mins. long.

Score Sample (PDF)

  

PNEUma

2 percussionists (vibraphone, marimba).

2004: 5 mins.

  

PNEUma can be performed either as a standalone work, or as the second of seven in the cycle The Eternal Surge.

  

pneuma: n. The soul or vital spirit, psyche, ego, mind, self.

  

PNEUma was written for SPEAK Percussion, and is dedicated to Peter Neville and Eugene Ughetti.

It was premiered by SPEAK Percussion at the Incinerator Arts Complex as part of the Big West Festival in Melbourne on 24/11/2007, with its first European performance by Pedro Carneiro and Mario Teixeira in Tomar (Portugal) in June 2009.

Score Sample (PDF)

   

(L to R) Peter Neville & Eugene Ughetti -- Pedro Carneiro & Mario Teixeira.

  

Puck

flute, vibraphone.

2007: 3 mins. 10 secs.

  

Sinuosity

piano, glockenspiel.

2017: 5 mins. 45 secs. approx.

  

Slap

Bb bass clarinet, percussion.

1998 rev. 2000: 6 mins.

  

Slap is a short work of about 6 ½ minutes duration that rather obviously takes its title from the opening slap tongue of the bass clarinet, but also observes that slap is one of those words that turns up in many other combinations e.g. slap-bang, slap-stick, slap-up, slap in the face, and slap and tickle to name a few. The sense of some of these other terms has doubtless found its way into this piece, (hopefully not slap-dash).

Slap was written for Duo Contemporain, and is dedicated to Henri Bok and Miguel Bernat.

It was premiered by Duo Contemporain at the Totally Huge New Music Festival in Perth on 9/5/2000, and underwent minor revision thereafter.

  

Split

Bb clarinet, piano.

1998: 5 mins.

  

split: v.t. to cut lengthwise; to cleave; to tear apart; to separate; to divide; - v.i. to break asunder; to dash to pieces; to betray a secret.

"Split is a high-energy work with great rhythmic intricacy. Flutter tongued notes, trills and strong chords, which are split into jagged and angular flourishes for both instruments, plunge us into a short but intense and dramatic sound world."

Robert Chamberlain [used by permission]

"Split can be described as an abstract but highly-charged modernist chamber work...derives much of its energy and continuity from short note values combined in irregular but active rhythms and gestures...one always senses a clear and consistent pitch structure..."

Thomas Reiner [used by permission]

Split was premiered by [pianist] Robert Chamberlain and [re-sound clarinettist] Paul Todd in Melbourne on October 17th, 2002.

  

Stir

2 violins.

1999: 3 mins. 10 secs.

Stir is published in "Passions Within" from Red House Editions. ISBN 0 9587342-3-2

  

Surge

guitar, percussion.

2001 rev. 2009: 6 mins. 50 secs.

  

Although performance without amplification is certainly permissible, the ideal performance set-up will provide amplification such that any audience member will - as far as possible [given budgetary considerations, availability of appropriate technology and physical space/venue limitations for any individual performance] - experience the piece as follows:

Guitar and Vibes:

quasi surround sound with the effect of frequency dependent panning from front to back [not left to right] through the range of 0° to 120°, [based on the understanding that centre stage/performer position = 0°, centre of space/position of ideal listener = 90°, and mid-point of rear wall of space = 180°] i.e. if an ascending scale covering the complete range of each instrument was to be played, the listener should feel the music gradually physically approach and ‘pass through’ to a point just behind them, i.e. over the shoulder, not to the back of the hall!

Crotales:

complete surround sound: the crotales should speak as if played inside the listener’s head!

  

...tempus fugit...

glockenspiel, xylophone.

2010: 3 mins. approx.

  

…tempus fugit…can be performed either as a standalone work, or as the fourth of seven in the cycle The Eternal Surge.

  

"Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore."

(But meanwhile it flees: time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail).

                                                                                    from Georgics, by Virgil.

  

…tempus fugit… is dedicated to Pedro Carneiro & Mario Teixeira.

  

...the principle of looking...

Bb bass clarinet, 5 octave marimba.

2008 rev. 2011: 11 mins. 30 secs.

  

"...all these constructions and the laws connecting them can be arrived at by the principle of looking for the mathematically simplest concepts and the link between them."

                                                                                              Albert Einstein.

Score Sample (PDF) 

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