A Greater Revelation

for flute and clarinet

James Erber

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for flute and clarinet

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Composer James Erber
Year of Composition 2015
Duration 10'10"
Categories (all composers) , ,
Catalogue ID ce-je1agr1


In 2002, I composed a 30-bar formant for flute and clarinet, in response to Rilke’s poem “Orpheus. Euridike. Hermes”. During the next nine years I tried unsuccessfully to expand it into a full-scale piece, although I eventually used the flute part of the formant as the basis of two solo works, A Small Revelation (2012), written as a 70th birthday tribute to my teacher Brian Ferneyhough, and the more substantial Four Aspects of Euridice (2014).

Eventually, I composed A Greater Revelation between April and May 2015. The piece is actually a series of revelations. As in A Small Revelation, the original grid is subjected to four layers of variative activity, which gradually peel away, almost, but not quite, revealing the music as originally conceived. Each of these layers is subjected to up to six further procedures, creating four further versions of the grid, which are, in their turn, also almost revealed in their original form. These five different revelations are interleaved, and (like the different routes taken by the various types of music forming my alto flute piece Desire Lines (2014)), “creat[e] force fields, which nudge the music along parallel but differing routes”.

A Greater Revelation was given its first performance on October 20th 2018 at the Twin Cities New Music Festival, by flautist James DeVoll and clarinettist Paul Schimming.