Commissioned by Crash Ensemble
Vibraphone (with bow) Tubular Bells
(The suspended cymbal should be overturned on a towel, filled with lengths of chain, coins, and assorted metal objects. When struck, the effect should be of glass shattering.)
(The tam-tam should be suspended normally on a rack, with lengths of chain, coins, metal beads, etc., suspended in front of it. When struck, the effect should be a long tam-tam stroke shimmering with a metallic halo. Think Jacob Marley’s ghost in China. It may help, particularly in the last section, to affix the beater to the instrument’s rack as well.)
November 25, 2011
Liberty Hall, Dublin
Drones, Variations, Ornaments is music in constant transformation. What begins as a simple, cloud-like sequence of string chords with a trombone melody slowly transforms into an agitated perpetual motion machine of winds, guitar, percussion, and piano. The machine spits out an incessant syncopated drone on middle-C, over which a fragment of a melody in the violin and trombone slowly turns into something more dangerous. The sound of breaking glass and assorted violent string pluckings slowly ushers in a decadent, syrupy melting texture in the strings, who accompany an alto flute solo. The piece ends in a suspended crystalline structure with a cello & trombone duet.