four to eight players

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sPEAK, for flute/Piccolo, clarinet, Violin, Cello and piano (2018)

c. 11 mins

Score availability: Enquire

Program note

This piece was commissioned for and premiered by Ensemble Q. It is scored for flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet, violin, cello and piano. Speak is cast in two distinct movements. Conceptually, each movement describes a different domain of language and communication. The first, entitled Dialogue, considers the nature of external exchanges between beings, encompassing multiple threads of conversation and intricate interactions. The second, entitled Inner Speak, is more introspective in character, reflecting patterns of an internal monologue through interweaving lines and subtle changes in feeling. I would like to thank Paul Dean and Trish O’Brien of Ensemble Q for giving me the opportunity to compose this work.

Performances

  • 4 November 2018; Ensemble Q; Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Brisbane

sCORE SAMPLE And media

 

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octet for strings (2018)

c. 17 mins

Score availability: Enquire

Program note

This piece was commissioned for Musica Viva Australia by Geoff Stearn, and premiered at the 2018 Huntington Estate Music Festival by the Goldner and Orava Quartets. It is scored for a standard string octet of four violins, two violas and two cellos.

Though cast in a single continuous movement, the Octet contains several clearly identifiable sections. At the outset, a sinewy progression of block chords is heard which becomes the motto theme of the whole work. From this, an agitated viola solo appears as the atmosphere becomes increasingly foreboding. Before long, the music breaks out into an inferno of unrelenting energy and drive, shifting with agitation between differing solo and ensemble textures. After a considerable climax, ideas begin to fragment – the tempo slows to a mood recalling the opening and, after a reflective return of the viola solo, the music winds down to silence.

From this emerges a long oasis of calm and tonal purity. Lyrical solo lines interweave with transparent harmonies although there are moments of shadow too. After a state of complete tranquillity is reached, scattered pizzicati herald a return of the earlier frenzy as the piece tumbles towards its cataclysmic finale.

I would like to thank Musica Viva Australia, Geoff Stearn and Carl Vine for giving me the opportunity to compose this work. I would also like to thank the Huntington Estate and, of course, the outstanding Goldner and Orava Quartets for preparing and giving the work’s first performance. Thank you also to my teacher and mentor Paul Stanhope for his invaluable advice and encouragement throughout the compositional process.

Performances

  • 25 November 2018; Goldner & Orava Quartets; Huntington Estate Music Festival, Mudgee, NSW

sCORE SAMPLE And media