david horne

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first performance: November 13, 1998

venue: Longy School of Music, Cambridge, Massachusetts

performer(s): Boston Musica Viva, conductor Richard Pittman

scoring: fl(=picc).bcl-perc(1):marimba/vib/crot-pft-vln.vlc

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

programme note:

Spike can perhaps best be described as a scherzo. The ensemble throughout is cloaked in a type of aural 'camouflage,' something that has increasingly preoccupied me in recent works. This acoustic interplay is achieved by constantly linking the envelopes of various timbres in a way that produces hybrid sounds. For example, the attack of one such hybrid may come from the marimba, the sustain from a low piccolo flutter-tongue, and the decay from a cello harmonic. The possibilities are practically endless, but require a strict control of register and balance to make it work. In this regard, the demands on the performers are considerable, aside from the virtuosic pyrotechnics which the piece also asks from them. The manifestation of this technique, in this work, is intended to create an effect that is mischievous, impulsive and fleet. Harmonies bounce around the various timbres at such a rate that the effect, at times, verges on disorienting the listener. Underneath this volatile fabric, however, is a melodic strand which increasingly permeates the work. At first, it seems like nothing more than a resonance of the often harsh jabs from the more extroverted material. The vigorous, angular music (which suggested the title) is gradually tempered by the calmer melodic lines, though only somewhat. The work ends with a flutter instead of a flourish, as the energy evaporates and the music contracts into the point from which it started.

David Horne, October 1998

other works

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