Several of my works have titles taken from paintings by the late and great Australian surrealist James Gleeson (1915-2008).
He not only created fascinating visual imagery - I am particularly intrigued by many works from the last ten years or so of his life - but he also had a particular way with words when it came to selecting names......
So far I have been unable to resist borrowing titles from these four works, and I strongly suspect that in the future I will draw inspiration from others as well.
Dancing to the Tremors of Time
2017: 24 mins approx.
Dancing to the Tremors of Time by James Gleeson
Dancing to the Tremors of Time was commissioned by and is dedicated to Michael Kieran Harvey, and was premiered by him in the Nolan Gallery at MONA, Hobart, on 17/11/2018.
It takes its title from a work by the late Australian surrealist James Gleeson.
“Life is divided into three parts: what was, what is, and what shall be.
Of these three periods, the present is short, the future is doubtful, and the past alone is certain.”
Seneca, from On the Shortness of Life
He’s waiting in the wings,
He speaks of senseless things,
His trick is you and me,…..”
for percussion solo - assorted instruments.
2014: 4 mins. 30 secs. approx.
Tentative Calm by James Gleeson
2013: 7 mins. approx.
Eden adjusted by climate change by James Gleeson
Figuration in Search of Identity
assorted percussion: Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Drum 'A' (2 Congas, 2 Djembes, 2 Bongos), Drum 'B' (Bass Drum, 6 Tom-toms, Snare drum), 6 Gongs, 6 Temple Blocks, 6 Wood Blocks, 5 Ceramic Bowls, 5 Glass Bottles, 5 Saw Blades, 5 Steel Bowls, 2 Temple Bowls, 2 Triangles, Ceramic Wind Chimes, Glass Wind Chimes.
2011: 27 mins. approx.
Figuration in Search of Identity by James Gleeson
Figuration in Search of Identity takes its title from a 2005 work by the late Australian pre-eminent surrealist painter James Gleeson (1915-2008).
Figuration in Search of Identity is dedicated to Brenton Broadstock and Riccardo Formosa - my composition teachers in the 1980s - both significant influences in the early years of my personal musical explorations. Completed in 2011, it comprises nine movements and is about 27 minutes long.
Figuration in Search of Identity has several acceptable performance options:
1. with one soloist performing all 9 movements
When option 1 is employed, the instruments should be distributed in 2 main positions as follows:
A. Xylophone, Drum A, 6 Gongs, 6 Temple Blocks, 5 Ceramic Bowls, 2 Temple Bowls, 2 Triangles, Glass Wind Chimes, Ceramic Wind Chimes.
B. Glockenspiel, Drum B, 6 Wood Blocks, 5 Glass Bottles, 5 Steel Bowls, 5 Saw Blades.
with both positions requiring access to the Bass Drum.
2. with 2 soloists sharing workload, with performer 1 playing those movements built around Drum A / Xylophone set up (i.e. movts I, III, IV, VII, & VIII) and performer 2 playing those built around the Drum B / Glockenspiel set up (movts II, V, VI, & IX). In this option, it is appropriate that movement I be further shared, with performer 2 playing Bass Drum only.
3. with 4 soloists sharing workload, performer 1 (I, IV, & VII), performer 2 (Bass Drum in I, V, & IX), performer 3 (II & VI), and performer 4 (III & VIII).
If either option 2 or 3 is used:
the set up should naturally be varied to suit, and may necessitate additional instrumental resources for convenience.
consideration should be given to making full use of the available performance space by setting convenient subsets in positions other than directly in front of the audience.
4. It is also permissible to extract any movement - or sequence of movements - for performance in isolation as long as the movement(s) so treated are clearly identified as such.
Score Sample (PDF)