david horne

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Broken Instruments



first performance: May 7, 1999

venue: Paine Hall, Harvard University, USA

performer(s): Fromm Players, conductor Jeffrey Milarsky

scoring: corA-hn-perc(1):marimba/vib/chimes/5tpl.bl/lg susp.cym-harp-gtr-vla.vlc.db

click here for pdf of score (1st 8 pages)

programme note:

This work is in one continuous nervous, movement. In writing the piece, I had an image (albeit abstract) of this somewhat disparate octet never quite coming together, their thematic ideas bouncing off each other at cross purposes. A dangerous pretext for a piece of music I felt, but nevertheless I found myself absorbed in the task. The instruments rarely express themselves unfettered, and the fact that they are never quite allowed to break free creates tension. Likewise, the foreground and background shifts constantly between the various instruments and groupings thereof; the timbres are twisted, otherwise domineering sonorities like the chimes submit to weaker voices such as the guitar. This sense of aural dysfunction, combined with the jagged, visceral sonorities afforded by an ensemble such as this, led me towards the title, Broken Instruments.

other works

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