for large orchestra

Vic Hoyland

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for large orchestra

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Composer Vic Hoyland
Year of Composition 2007
Duration ca.30'
Forces picc, fl, fl/afl, 2ob, ca, cl/, cl/, bcl/cbcl, 2bn, cbn, 4hn, 4tpt, 2tbn, btbn, tba, 4perc, keyb, 2hp, strings (
Categories (all composers)
Catalogue ID ce-vh1p1


This new composition, written 2006-7, comes as the last panel (‘surge’ might be a better word for such dynamic music) in an orchestral triptych by Hoyland, following Vixen (1997) and Qibti (2003). Like those predecessors, Phoenix is a big piece in both music’s dimensions of time and sound: it plays for about half an hour and is scored for a large orchestra that includes an active group of four percussionists, so that struck sonorities are equally as important as those bowed or blown. A difference from the two earlier scores is that most of the percussion instruments are tuned, producing clangs, shimmers, vibrant streams and scintillant rushes that play through the music almost continuously. As in Qibti, though not in Vixen, there is also and electric keyboard sampling similar sounds as well as briefly near the end, those of an organ. Phoenixes, we may recall, are born amid flames, and it is partly from brilliantly metallic sparks that Hoyland’s fire music is made.

Commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

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