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  • quintet for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano
  • By:
11' 00"


application/pdf,127k Score (127k) pages 2-9© Ross Harris

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Programme Note

At the edge of silence was commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand for performance by stroma. The work was a finalist in the 2004 SOUNZ Contemporary Award. As the title suggests, the work hovers on the edge of audibility but it is also about memory – memories half forgotten – distorted over time. Part of the expression of this ‘distortion’ is invoked by the substantial use of quarter-tone inflections of melody and harmony.

At the edge of silence is in a single movement which is symmetrical around a musical quotation which drifts into the centre of the piece. Before and after this quotation the music unfolds around solo lines for each to the wind and string instruments in turn. The piano supplies echoes and resonances of the melodies and harmonies and also acts as a foil to the micron-tuning of the other instruments. The work was inspired by the virtuosity of the stroma ensemble.

Commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand for Stroma's tour in April-May 2004, with funding from Creative New Zealand

Performance History

World Premiere for P: At the Edge of Silence; Stroma 020404 02 Apr 2004 Performed by Stroma; Nelson School of Music
20 Jun 2006 Performed by Gageego! and conducted by Gunno Palmquist at the Goteborg Concert Hall in 2006, presented by the International Association of Music Information Centres.
18 Mar 2015 Performed by Horizont Musik-Kollektiv at the Piano Salon Christophori, in Berlin.


  • IAMIC 'Sounds of the Year' (2006)

    on the edge of silence by Ross Harris was chosen for the list of chamber works presented in 2006 for ‘IAMIC sounds of the Year’, and was performed at the 2006 IAMIC Conference in Gothenberg, Sweden.

  • SOUNZ Contemporary Award (2004)

    At the Edge of Silence was a finalist in the 2004 SOUNZ Contemporary Award.


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