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Silva : percussion concerto

by Mary Finsterer (2012)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Ensemble Offspring from the CD Offspring Bites 1

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Digital Audio Album

Pendulum / Mary Finsterer.

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Work Overview

Silva derives from Latin, meaning forest, and provides the inspiration for this percussion concerto. With an aim to evoke different impressions of the forest, the work opens with an atmospheric ambience, giving a feeling of largeness through space and time. It looks out, as if to experience the forest through layers of branches and leaves, these represented by the whimsical, faster moving soft gestures of the woodwinds and string harmonics. The second section provides a stark contrast, introducing the earthy timbres of the tom toms set against the vibraphone, offering an impression of the forest from a completely different perspective. If the first section represents the leaves and branches and openness of the sky, then this section signifies the timber and soil that beds the forest, highlighting the percussion as other instruments interplay to create the harmonic layers.

The thematic material of the work relates to the idea of memory, where musical fragments from Tallis's Spem in alium and Schubert's Death and the Maiden are entwined in a recurring figure that characterises the opening and final sections of the work. The harmonic treatment of the work originates from these two quotes which are then developed as a result of my research into the Renaissance period.

The idea of the forest has always figured high in our collective consciousness. Through the stories we first heard as children, the forest plays on our imagination as a place of wonder, escape, danger and adventure. In many folk tales the forest is even seen as forbidden - a place full of mystery and shadows. In the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, 'It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.' MF

Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: Flute, clarinet in Bb, piano, violin, cello, solo percussion (vibraphone, 3 cymbals, 2 tom toms, DFC high gongs, G low gong, bow, various mallets).

Duration: 16 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional standard (conductor might be required)

Dedication note: Dedicated to Tasmin Cowling

Commission note: Commissioned by Claire Edwardes, Ensemble Offspring with funds provided by Australia Council. Music Board.

First performance: by Ensemble Offspring at Ensemble Offspring (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room) on 23 Oct 2012

The composer notes the following influences, etc associated with this work:
Schubert, Tallis and the Renaissance period

Performances of this work

Unknown date: featuring Ensemble Offspring, Claire Edwardes.

12 Dec 18: OFF-Theater, Vienna, Austria. Featuring ensemble xx. jahrhundert.

28 Nov 2017: at Merlyn Myer Music Commission 2017: Andrea Keller (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

3 May 2017: at CIMF 2017: Half the Sky (National Portrait Gallery). Featuring Ensemble Offspring, Claire Edwardes.

21 Aug 2016: at Broken Consorts (Ngeringa Cultural Centre). Featuring Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring.

21 Mar 2016: at Australian Voices: Mary Finsterer (Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring ANAM Musicians.

20 Sep 2015: at Ensemble Offspring: Shanghai New Music Week (Shanghai Conservatory of Music). Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

1 Mar 2015: at Broken Consorts (Newcastle Museum). Featuring Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring.

28 Feb 2015: at Broken Consorts (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room). Featuring Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring.

23 Feb 2015: at Broken Consorts (fortyfivedownstairs). Featuring Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring.

21 Feb 2015: at Broken Consorts (Burnie Regional Art Gallery). Featuring Ensemble Offspring, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble.

20 Feb 2015: at Broken Consorts (Baha'i Centre). Featuring Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring.

27 Oct 2012: at Ensemble Offspring (Turbine Hall). Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

23 Oct 2012: at Ensemble Offspring (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room). Featuring Ensemble Offspring.

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