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Symphony No. 7 : scenes from daily life : full orchestra

by Carl Vine (2008)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Arvo Volmer from the CD Symphony No. 7

Symphony No. 7


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Symphony No. 7

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Symphony No. 7 : 'scenes from daily life' / Carl Vine.

Library shelf no. Q 784.2/VIN 8 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

A synaesthetic tradition persists whereby audiences expect composers to have found inspiration in extramusical stimulus: stories, poems or visual images that will be represented in some way in their music. This approach to composition rarely appeals to me, and I generally reflect abstract thought in purely musical terms without reference to other sensation.

Which still leaves begging the question of 'what it means', assuming music can possibly possess empirical meaning beyond its own frame of reference. For this symphony I hopefully offer 'scenes from daily life' as illumination.

Modern life is almost impossibly rich with an incessant daily onslaught of violent and confronting images. Wars and humankind have always been close kin, but the modern capacity to witness first-hand destruction from the safety of a private video screen has much to recommend it. (The ability to retain all of one's own blood throughout the process ranks highly). Even if one has direct connections to violence, until recently nobody was able to appreciate the global scale of decimation and desolation wrought every day by our species and, in the final analysis, by each one of ourselves.

The six main 'scenes' in this music run together as a single movement. The first two scenes mirror the same idea from opposite sides: the first allowing competing energies to collide into uniformity, the second moving from unison to plurality. The third and fifth scenes are slow sections reflecting on loss and beauty, separated by a contrasting scene of skittish energy. The sixth scene is a danse macabre.

Despite these clear distinctions, the scenes depict no explicit, predetermined images, actions or events. They remain abstract emblems of the drama of human interaction on a human scale.

Carl Vine. November 2008

— Carl Vine

Work Details

Year: 2008

Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in Bb, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contra-bassoon, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in C, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), harp, strings.

Duration: 24 min.

Difficulty: Medium

Commission note: Commissioned by Symphony Australia, Janet Holmes à Court with funds provided by Australia Council.

First performance: by West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Arvo Volmer — 14 Nov 08. Perth Concert Hall, Western Australia

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2009 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize Highly Commended Carl Vine


Program note: Carl Vine's "Symphony no. 7"
by Carl Vine

Resonate article: Adelaide Symphony Orchestra: Elgar's Enigma - and so much more by David John Lang

Resonate article: WASO and Vine's Symphony No. 7 by Rosalind Appleby


Performances of this work

15 Feb 19: Estonia Kontserdisaal, Tallinn, Estonia

20 Jun 2009: at ASO & ASQ: Vine, Hindson, Elgar (Adelaide Town Hall). Featuring Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Arvo Volmer.

19 Jun 2009: at ASO & ASQ: Vine, Hindson, Elgar (Adelaide Town Hall). Featuring Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Arvo Volmer.

14 Nov 08: Perth Concert Hall, Western Australia. Featuring West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Arvo Volmer.

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