Tourmaline [String Orchestra & Percussion, 2022]
String Orchestra and Percussion
[Parts: Vln 1-4, Vla 1-2, Vcl 1-2, Db, 2Perc]
ABOUT THE WORKFor many years I've been interested in the boundaries between acoustic and electronic sound. I've written works that use digital processing to manipulate and interact with live musicians, and created purely instrumental music that feels electronic, through playing with texture and extended techniques.
This new commission is a highly energetic piece that takes inspiration from the mainstream genre of electronic dance music. I don't quote directly from any existing piece, instead exploring the rhythms, harmonies and textures of electronic music in an authentically instrumental setting.
There's an underlying unease throughout. The strings range from gritty loud stabs, to uncomfortable swaying glissandi; from gentle mechanical pizzicatos, to soaring melodies that glitch with disjointed rhythms. We move through different textures as themes build and grow, then tumble apart, before pounding drums draw them back together. Altogether this work is a joyous sprint through an off-kilter landscape, delighting in the versatility of acoustic strings, whilst maintaining the loud visceral impact of the genre that inspired it.
‘Tourmaline’ was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and premiered on 22nd September 2022, conducted by Jac van Steen.
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