Epicycle (1999/rev. 2004) - Stephen Beville

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Epicycle (1999/rev. 2004) - Stephen Beville


Chamber Orchestra: Pc,Fl,Cl,Cor,2Tr,Perc(2),Pn,Vl1,Vl2,Vla,Vc,Vb.

Epicycle was conceived as a work that would involve repetitive patterns and structures, but without resorting to familiar models of Minimalism. As the title suggests, these recurrences are on a number of levels; from the localised mechanics of rhythmic mobiles and quasi-serial chord cycles to the over-arching trajectory of the whole. Above all, I was interested in the idea of returning, but in different ways and from new and illuminating perspectives.

There are essentially three types of music - each characterised by differing instrumentation - that alternate and interact to create collisions, spaces, moods and recollections. For instance, the lyrical introduction for wind instruments is juxtaposed with vertically-orientated tutti sections constructed from changing metres, and later, fanfare-like episodes for brass and percussion. Wheras piano tends to act as intermediary between instrumental groups, the strings are often employed to enrich colour and texture. The decision to use the cornet was primarily for its mellow tone, but I did want to evoke a similar mood to the 'last post'. Epicycle may be viewed as a meditation on the 'ritornello' of war and peace.

Epicycle was first performed by The New Ensemble, Andre de Ridder, RNCM Concert Hall, 06/2000.
Duration: 10 mins.

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