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Cicada songs (alto with chamber ensemble)

by Benjamin Thorn (2016)

Work Overview

Cicada Songs is a cycle of eight sonnets (numbers 6 and 7 run into each other) with texts by Chris Cunningham that describe aspects of various cicadas around the world. While no attempt has been made to accurately reproduce the songs of the various cicadas each movement does try to create a distinctive timbre and feel that reflects the descriptions in the words. Sometimes this is used structurally - so that the cicadas in the USA that reproduce with cycles of prime numbers are portrayed with ostinatos lasting prime numbers of beats. Sometimes there are other cultural references: the South African cicadas use African rhythms for instance, while the quiet New Zealanders have a very ethereal accompaniment.

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: Alto voice, 2 violins, viola, cello, percussion (2 players).

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: 1. Prologue -- 2. The Old World -- 3. USA -- 4. South Africa -- 5. New Zealand -- 6. Australia -- 7. A childhood idyll -- 8. Epilogue.

Commission note: Commissioned by Chris Cunningham, High Country Theatre.


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