david horne

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first performance: August 21, 1998

venue: Portland, Maine

performer(s): Adela Pena/Laurence Neuman/Melissa Brooks/Peter Askim/Judith Gordon

scoring: vln.vla.vlc.db-pft

click here for pdf of score (1st 12 pages)- will open in new window

programme note:

Shiver is in one continuous movement, lasting about 15 minutes. There are five distinct sections and a brief coda. The resultant form of the piece could be described as two 'scherzi' (sections two and four) surrounded by calmer, more reflective episodes. (The coda alludes in character to the scherzi.) I was attracted to this ensemble in particular, because the addition of a bass has an equalizing factor on the ensemble, the segregation by range enhancing the individual quality of the instruments. From the outset, though, I wanted the piece to constantly shift through an exploration of the various timbres afforded by the ensemble. In addition, I relished composing a type of aural 'subterfuge'- "... is the cello playing that? No, maybe it's the viola- actually it's the piano, or is it the bass?" At the opening of the work, the initial idea heard purposely blurs the edge between one instrument and another. As this idea grows, from one note into a theme, the various instruments slowly being to come into focus.

The title itself has a history, not least because it wasn't the one I originally chose. Deferring to my publisher's wishes (they already had a work in their catalog named 'Shard') I looked for a title with a similar connotation to the original. I was delighted to find a word that not only satisfied that requirement, but had an additional (more obvious) meaning which also seemed musically relevant. So, while my title refers to the tiny splinter of a theme used as the piece's material (as is the lesser known meaning of shiver- to splinter or shatter), it also refers to the initial character of that theme, i.e. shivering, as if with cold. Throughout the piece, the listener will hear various allusions to this, as various instruments almost seem to shake and tremble in response to the razor sharp 'bites' of the thematic material.

other works

complete list. opera/theatrical. orchestral. ensemble. chamber. solo. vocal/choral.