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Atlantis variations (solo piano)

by Derek Strahan (1993)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Derek Strahan from the CD Autumn rhapsody

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Atlantis variations


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Atlantis variations : for solo piano / Derek Strahan

Library shelf no. CD 2247 [Not for loan]

Atlantis variations


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Atlantis variations : for solo piano / by Derek Strahan.

Library shelf no. 786.2/STR 1 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

The work has a program. A triple conjunction in 8498 B.C. caused an asteroid of the Adonis Group to be diverted from its orbit shortly after reaching its perihelion (closest point to the sun). The asteroid, estimated at 10 km in diameter) was deflected from its accustomed orbit by the combined gravitational fields of Venus, the Moon and Earth. It approached the mid-Atlantic area from the West. Blazing more brightly than the sun as it entered Earth's atmosphere, it broke in two as it passed over North America. The two portions of its core plunged into what is now the Gulf of Mexico, and pierced the earth's crust. Two abyssal holes in the gulf are the scars of this cataclysmic event. Mountainous tidal waves surged from the place of impact in all directions, causing widespread inundation in coastal areas. The fracture zone known as the Atlantic Rift was severed and torn apart. Red-hot magma was released into the ocean along the rift to each end of the Atlantic. Both the east coast of America and the west coast of Africa sank, as did the platform on which stood Atlantis, leaving only mountainous peaks visible above the sea (now the Azores).

Work Details

Year: 1993

Instrumentation: Piano.

Duration: 57 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional.

Contents note: Part 1: Celestial bodies -- Atlantis -- Part 2: Female magic -- Patriarchy -- Part 3: Celestial bodies: The golden age -- Conjunction: approach of the intruder -- Impact: deluge -- The end of an age.

Commission note: Commissioned by Sydney Conservatorium of Music for performance by Gerard Willems.

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
polytonal, programmatic, polymetric, variations, melodic

Different and contrasting music styles are drawn on to depict the various scenarios. Emphasis is on melodic content with frequent use of counterpoint to achieve entangled effect, sometimes lyrical and also, quite frequently, dissonant in effect.

The work develops themes and ideas intended for use in a proposed opera on the subject of 'Atlantis'.

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