• Stuart MacRae
  • Elemental (1999)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • horn.harp.cello.vibraphone; school groups of any size
  • 25 min

Programme Note

Elemental is a work written with the intention of giving school students the opportunity to compose and accompaniment to a previously composed piece of solo music for professional instrumentalists, who will have worked with the students for some time prior to the performance.

It has four movements, each of which is based on one of the Greek philosopher Empedocles' "elements" or "roots" - that is Water, Earth, Air and Fire. The solo music I have written, for Vibraphone, Horn, Harp and Cello respectively, provides a framework for the students to work on, and forms a sort of mini concerto for the instrument in question. Both the solos and the accompaniments draw on their given element and its associations.

Thus, Water is at first flowing and changeable; then a sprinkling of notes becomes a torrent. Earth is solid and lyrical, and continually returns to an ever-expanding refrain. Air is light and transcendental, and the solo Harp seems to float ethereally. Fire is angry and capricious, changing suddenly and consuming material from the previous movements in its blaze.

The four movements are played without a break, with a short coda at the end of the work.

© Stuart MacRae