Commissioned for the New Violin Octet, by the Faculty of Music at the University of Edinburgh with the help of the Catgut Acoustical Society and with subsidy from the Scottish Arts Council.   

I. Termolante:  The tremelo percolates through the octet with increasing intensity and various effects of colour.

II. Duo/Hexads:  The duo for small bass and contrabass is based on the intervals of major second and minor third with the occasional major third.  The gentle staccato accompaniment involves all fifty basic six-note chords.  These are graded in order of dissonance so that there is some rise and fall in euphony.

III. Harmonics: This involves some conflict between natural and artificial harmonics.  Because of the alteration in the length of the string the artificial harmonics allow more scope for variety and dissonance in the harmony.

IV. Solo: This simple melody for treble and soprano in octaves was written in memory of a friend - Ben Kennedy - who died in March 1994.

V. Pizzicato: An investigation into pizzicato techniques with glissandi; two three- and four-note chords; harmonics; tremolo and snapping the string against the fingerboard.

VI. Trio/Triads:  This trio for alto, tenor and baritone consists of melodic fragments in triads.  There is a light, sustained accompaniment for treble, soprano and mezzo which touches on all twelve basic triads moving from consonance to dissonance and back (perhaps there is another trio).  The small bass and contrabass provide some deep support.

VII. Octads: All the basic eight-note chords are stated three times.  As in the Duo and Trio these are ordered to provide growth and relaxation of tension.  The music is homophobic, suggesting a hymn-like quality. 

Notes by Lyell Cresswell.

first performance, University of Edinburgh, 21 February, 1995

Concerts by Work