Insecure Dances in Unstable Times

for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano

Alastair Greig

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for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano

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Composer Alastair Greig
Year of Composition 2012
Duration ca.9'
Categories (all composers) , ,
Catalogue ID ce-ag2idiut1


insecure dances in unstable times

I: risoluto, poco agitato

II: poco animato

III: inquieto

The three pieces have a number of musical things in common. Each uses material from previously composed pieces; each is, in part, a study in rhythm and texture; each one is, relatively, concise.

The first piece juxtaposes two blocks of material, one rhythmically driven, the other explores line. These two ‘themes’ play against each other and merge and separate throughout the piece. A clarinet fanfare precedes the ‘thematic’ dialogue and further solo cameos, or interruptions, appear toward the middle (for violin) and toward the end (for ‘cello).

The second piece explores the antiphonal ideas of the first and develops a melodic line, explored by each instrument with or without accompaniment. Each small section of the music ends with a pivot note that begins the next. These notes are points on a curve; the distance between them becomes shorter in time and closer in pitch as the music progresses.

The third piece is akin to a mechanical device, which, once set in motion, speeds away until it runs out of energy. Throughout this piece a pitch oscillation, or thread, winds its way through the texture that is punctuated by increasingly violent outbursts by the piano. After a brief cadenza, for the piano, the roles are reversed and the four instruments punctuate the piano’s rhythmic trill, as all gradually winds down and motion ceases.

The first performance took place at The Warehouse, London in March 2013. Gwyn Pritchard conducted the Uroborus Ensemble.