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Our Dried Voices

for orchestra

Year:  2005   ·  Duration:  8m
Instrumentation:  3333; 4231; 3 perc.; hp; strings (min 8 8 6 6 4) | (Perc: castanets, snare drum, sus. cymbal, woodblocks, crotales, marimba, toms, roto-toms, timpani)

Year:  2005
Duration:  8m
Instrumentation  3333; 4231; 3 perc.; hp; st...

Composer:   Alison Grant

Films, Audio & Samples

Performed by NZSO conducted by Hamish McKeich, 2006

Alison Grant: Our Dried Voi...

Embedded audio
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Sample Score

Sample: pp1-5, 27-29

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TS Eliot's poem suite 'The Hollow Men' has long since gripped me in both an aesthetic and an expressive sense. For some time I toyed with the idea of writing a piece that responded in some way to the poem. In fact, 'Our dried voices' didn't begin life as that piece, but during the planning process I quickly realised that the suite of poems might provide both a starting point for my sonic ideas for the piece, and a reference for the political and social ideas I was struggling to express in an essentially abstract art. Eliot's references to dryness and deadness:

our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass

provided ideas for a strong sonic world in which to work, while the last two lines of paradox:

Shape without form, shade without colour
Paralysed force, gesture without motion

offered a structural and gestural concept with which to battle musically. The work is set up around gestures that dissipate into clouds of sound, act against, and bury each other, and eventually become so intermingled that they lose any individual potency and are important only as part of the general barrage of voices.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by the New Zealand School of Music Orchestra as part of the David Farquhar Award, 2005.

Text note

Inspired by T.S. Eliot's poem suite 'The Hollow Men'

Performance history

22 Sep 2005: Performed by the New Zealand School of Music Orchestra and conducted Kenneth Young at the Wellington Town Hall, Wellington

07 Nov 2006: Performed in a rehearsed reading by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hamish McKeich as part of the NZSO-SOUNZ Readings

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