As Day Recedes, So Night…

As Day Recedes, So Night…

Instrumentation – wind trio (oboe, clarinet & bassoon)

Duration – c.4′

Written in Brighton, June 2014

 

Dedicated to Swedish composer Jakob Jonsson, and composed in response to a call for scores by the Gelächter Trio for the Herne Hill Music Festival. One might say that the piece is built from two contrasting musical ideas: the first, a polyphonic setting of a monody, loosely based on the Sutartinės of Lithuania; the second, a more free-flowing texture characterised by glissandi and the gradual morphing from one pitch to the next. Multiphonics in the oboe and bassoon are used as a gateway to new pitches and musical sections, and the music maintains a very narrow tessitura between the instruments throughout, resulting in the bassoon, more often than not, performing in its higher register. On the other hand, one might equally say that the content of each section, aside from their being contrasted, is immaterial, replaceable in fact, and that the piece is best defined by its structure. Essentially, the music plays a blending game, whereby the lengths of the A sections increase each time they reappear, whilst the B sections, with which the A alternates, gradually decrease in length. This procedure was derived from the division of a sine wave (from just shy of its peak to its trough) into 4 equal parts, the five intersections of the wave working in inverse proportion to one another in terms of their distance in height from point 0 (the centre of the wave). This relationship can be seen throughout nature, an obvious case being the increase and decrease in daylight hours throughout the year, more markedly so nearer the Earth’s poles. Acknowledgement must be given to geometer Sama Mara for his advice on this proportional system.

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