Opal : Double Concerto for Horns and Orchestra
by May Lyon (2021)
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With shimmering veins that run through ancient rocks in the Australian outback, opal is one of the most beautiful and sought after gemstones in the world. It is created from both silica and water, combining over a millennia in cracks of stone, wood and fossils.
The combination of two elements that form one gem is represented by the two horns, weaving within the orchestra as opal does within rock, close harmonies creating glimmering frequencies. The slow movement of ancient water is a melodious line shared between each soloist, which progresses to a beautiful stillness that shows off the upper range of the horn. In opposition to this, as human industry cuts around the opal veins, different timbres and bright embellishments are exposed within a mechanistic orchestra.
Instrumentation: 2 solo horns, piccolo/bass flute, oboe, cor anglais clarinet in B flat/clarinet in E flat, clarinet in B flat/bass clarinet in B flat, bassoon, contrabassoon, 2 trumpets in B flat, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani (32”, 29”, 26” & 23”), percussion 1 (tubular bells, suspended cymbal, 3 temple blocks, low tom), percussion 2 (brake drum, marimba, glockenspiel, suspended cymbal), harp, strings.
Duration: 13 min.
Contents note: I. SiO2H2O -- II. Cut from rock -- III. Water: ancient streams, flow through sandstone -- IV. Precious opal: play of colour -- V. Cut from rock.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Tim Hannah & Alison McIntosh-Deszcz
Commission note: Commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Australian mining, opal, Australia, nature, water
Resonate article: Insight: Opal - Double Concerto for Horns by May Lyon
- In the form/style of: Concertos
Performances of this work
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