Shell chambers : for piano quartet
by Elliott Gyger (2016)
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Library shelf no. 785.2814/GYG 1 [Available for loan]
Shell Chambers is my first work for a standard chamber
combination in over ten years, and deals unusually directly (for
me) with the Western musical canon - not in vocabulary, but in
terms of rhetoric and structure.
The eight movements range in length from thirty seconds to nearly ten minutes. The three longest explore common 19th-century formal models: a rapid Scherzo with several contrasting Trios (each omitting one member of the quartet to create a literal trio); an Adagio cast as a set of variations; and a robust Allegro in sonata form. However, each of these models is split across two movements, in such a way that the overall structure is turned in on itself. The four Interludes are brief character pieces, and mirror the internal divisions of the Scherzo in being scored for different trios; while the final movement recalls each of the preceding seven in miniature.
The title refers to marine animals such as the nautilus, which in the course of their lifetimes assemble a spiral shell made up of chambers of increasing size. In a similar way, this work contains organic growth within an exoskeleton of elegant patterning.
Instrumentation: Violin, viola, cello, piano.
Duration: 26 min.
Contents note: I. Interlude 1 -- II. Scherzo - Allegro -- III. Interlude 2 -- IV. Adagio – Scherzo -- V. Interlude 3 -- VI. Interlude 4 -- VII. Allegro - Adagio -- VIII. Précis.
Commission note: Commissioned by Australia Piano Quartet.
Performances of this work
11 Dec 15: UTS, Sydney. Featuring Australia Piano Quartet.
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