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Fracture

piano.

2009-2015: 27 mins. 40 secs. approx.

 

The handful of piano solos I'd written since (and including) the major revision of Agité III in 2000 were all - to a greater or lesser extent - related, and in 2010 I'd decided that four of them were sufficiently linked to combine quite well as a set, so the original Fracture came into being.

Over following months I became increasingly dissatisfied with this arbitrary construct, and in 2012 my thoughts turned again to the piano with a conviction to create a genuinely unified work. I chose  re-fract as the starting point and released the others to make their own way in the world. Later in 2012 Doublethink was completed, followed in 2015 by Shard : thus was Fracture in its present final form eventually (re)born.

  

All three works can be performed individually, or as part of the larger work.

  

(i) re-fract

piano.

2009: 8mins. 10 secs. approx.

  

re-fract:

re-: again, backward, intensify.

pref. [Middle English, from Old French, from Latin.]

fract: to break, to violate. [Obs]. Shak.

v.t. [L. fractus, p.p. of frangere to break.]

refract: to deflect from a straight path, to alter or distort

tr.v. [Latin refringere, to break up.]

  

"…to express the sensation of experiencing a disintegration of identity, a shattering of the self. This is what I mean when I speak of a poetics of refraction."

       from "The fragmentary Muse and the poetics of refraction in Sappho, Sophocles, Offenbach.

                                                                                           by Gregory Nagy 

  

re-fract can be performed either as a standalone work, or as the first of three movements in Fracture.

Score Sample (PDF)

  

(ii) Doublethink

piano.

2012: 12 mins. 50 secs. approx.

  

“…the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, …to hold simultaneously two opinions…knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, …to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again...”

                                                          from 1984 by George Orwell (1903-1950).

  

"...The maelstrom of my memory is a vampire and it feeds on me;..."

                                        from A Plague of Lighthouse-keepers by Peter Hammill.

  

Doublethink can be performed either as a standalone work, or as the second of three movements in Fracture.

Score Sample (PDF)

  

(iii) Shard

piano.

2015: 6 mins. 40 secs. approx.

  

"…trying to put the broken mirror of memory back together from so many broken shards."

from Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

  

Shard can be performed either as a standalone work, or as the third of three movements in Fracture.

Score Sample (PDF)

  

...like a Maelstrom

concerto for piano & trumpet in C

& small orchestra (2 x perc, strings).

2013: 26 mins. approx.

  

...like a Maelstrom takes its title from the opening lines of a poem by Emily Dickinson, and is - as the title suggests – energetic and turbulent, providing a thorough workout for both soloists. It was commissioned by Arcko Symphonic Ensemble's artistic director Timothy Phillips to feature the talents of Arcko regulars Peter Dumsday (piano) and Bruno Siketa (trumpet), and was premiered on 21/02/2015 at the Church of All Nations in Carlton.

...like a Maelstrom is in one continuous movement, has a duration of about 26 minutes, and is dedicated to Joseph Bono (1926-2013).  

  

“'Twas like a Maelstrom, with a notch,

That nearer, every Day,

Kept narrowing its boiling Wheel..."

                            Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).

Score Sample (PDF)

  

...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)

  

Proxima

string quartet.

2001 rev. 2011: 15 mins. approx.

  

proxima: Latin: from proximus = nearest, next, adjoining, close.

  

Proxima was premiered by the Silo String Quartet, at the Church of All Nations, Carlton on 21/02/2015, as part of the Arcko Symphonic Ensemble composer portrait concert "...Like a Maelstrom", and featured Aaron Barnden & Atilla Kuti (violins), Phoebe Green (viola) and Caerwen Martin (cello).

Score Sample (PDF)

  

...only the living...

violin, 'cello, piano.

2000 rev. 2008. 11 mins. 30 secs. approx.

  

"...Time may finally prove,

only the living move her..."

                              from Lemmings, by Peter Hammill.

  

...only the living... is dedicated Brian (1925-83), Kathleen, (1927-87) and Michael (1952-87).

It was premiered by Michael Kieran Harvey (pno), Tim Veldman (vln), and Alister Barker (vc) on 24-9-2011 at the Trinity Uniting Church, Brighton.

Score Sample (PDF)

  

...floating in the void...

for string orchestra, minimum 4,4,2,2,1.

1995 rev. 2005: 8 mins. 30 secs.

  

...floating in the void... is for String Orchestra: minimum forces of 4/4/2/2/1, divided as follows: 2+2/2+2/1+1/1+1/1

The ideal performance set-up would see a relatively small audience seated in a circle (preferably on the floor) facing inwards to where the conductor would be standing. The audience would in turn be encircled by the players, who would be spaced evenly in the following sequence: Vn1.a - Vn2.a - Va1 - Vc1 - Cb - Vc2 - Va2 - Vn2.b - Vn1.b

Lighting should be kept to the minimum required for performance, and the audience should be encouraged to listen to the performance with their eyes closed.

In circumstances where this is clearly not a practical possibility, the players should at least be spread in sequence as much as possible to at least partially convey the effect the ideal set-up would realise. In all such cases, the solitary Cb should be situated centre-front in relation to the audience.

  

"...I am now quite alone...

here floating in the void,

only dimly aware of existence,

a dimly existing awareness..."

            from Pioneers over c, by Peter Hammill.

  

...floating in the void... was premiered by the Arcko Symphonic Project at the Richmond Uniting Church, Melbourne, on 30/5/2009, under the direction of Timothy Phillips.

Score Sample (PDF)

  

Sphinx

for 10 players.

flute/alto flute/piccolo, oboe/cor anglais, Eb/Bb clarinet, Bb bass clarinet, trombone, percussion, violin, viola, 'cello, double bass.

1994 rev. 2001: 14 mins. 30 secs. approx.

  

"...I am the one who crossed through space,

or stayed where I was,

or didn’t exist in the first place..."

            from Pioneers over c, by Peter Hammill.

  

Commissioned by the ELISION ensemble, Sphinx was completed in 2001 bringing to a close an extended period of re-evaluation that - through the refinement of earlier scores and the resolution of disparate influences - resulted in the clarification of my compositional thinking and provided the impetus for the many new works that have followed.

Excerpts of lyrics by English songwriter Peter Hammill - whose imagery has also served to trigger several other (mostly early) works - accompany the piece. Sphinx is dedicated to Daryl Buckley, who was responsible for several of the earliest significant commissions.

Given the gist of the quote and the associations most commonly evoked by the word Sphinx - mythological creatures, riddles, ancient monuments, enigmatic individuals - it seems somehow appropriate that this piece is built on material taken from a guitar solo (part of which no longer exists), is dedicated to a guitarist, and yet is a work in which the guitar takes no part.

Sphinx was premiered by the ELISION Ensemble at the Iwaki Auditorium, Melbourne on the 9th of August 2008, under the direction of Mark Knoop.

Score Sample (PDF)

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