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Lyric Suite

for violin and piano (with optional bell and gongs)

Year:  1989   ·  Duration:  22m

Year:  1989
Duration:  22m


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A suite in seven movements, the first and last of which (for piano solo) act as a prologue and epilogue to the main part of the work. The genesis of the piece is the chord progression outlined by the piano in the first movement, accompanied by uneasy chromatic lines in the bass register; these elements are explored in various ways in subsequent movements. There are optional parts for small bell (movement 3) and gongs (movement 5). The lyrical qualities expressed in the work's title come most to the fore in the sixth movement, a cantabile melody in the violin heard over descending sostenuto progressions in the piano. In the third movement the left hand of the piano is taken from Stockhausen's 1951 composition Spiel.

Composed for the opening of the new School of Music Building, Victoria University of Wellington, in 1989, and performed on this occasion by Gavin Saunders (violin), Ross Carey (piano) and Gareth Farr (percussion).

Commissioned note

Commissioned by Gavin Saunders with funding from QEII Arts Council (now Creative New Zealand) and the Composers' Foundation of NZ (now the Composers Association of New Zealand)

Dedication note

Dedicated to Gavin Saunders

Contents note

Seven movements

Performance history

01 Jan 1989: Performed by Gavin Saunders (violin), Ross Carey (piano) and Gareth Farr (percussion)