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Darkness and Light

for orchestra

Year:  1995   ·  Duration:  5m
Instrumentation:  3 3 3 3 | 3 1 3 1 | perc(x4) | hp | str(20 10 8 6) | (Percussion 1: 3 sus. cym., glock., maracas, rain stick, tub. bell Percussion 2: 3 tam tams (sm, med, lge), 3 triangles, 3 large wood drums (free-standing), 5 wood blocks, glass chimes, bamboo chimes, nipple gong Percussion 3: timp (28"), metal chimes, 4 cowbells, snare drum, rain stick Percussion 4: bass drum, 5 toms, 2 timbales, 4 temple blocks, referee's whistle, rain stick)

Year:  1995
Duration:  5m
Instrumentation  3 3 3 3 | 3 1 3 1 | perc(x4...

Dorothy Ker

Composer:   Dorothy Ker

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Page 1-5.

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This work employs the device of a passacaglia, ie a recurring harmonic sequence, in this case linked to a talea - a rhythmic ostinato - of expanding and contracting durations and dynamics. The phasing of chord sequence and talea, their being different in length, results in an 'elliptical' profile of the sequence that draws focus to a different part of it each time it comes around. As it passes it draws in fragments of its transformed self, as well as other cyclic events, giving a continually renewed range of contrasting colours from the the orchestra, the predominant opposition being, as the title suggests between 'dark' and 'light' timbres: the process of the work in broad terms is a transformation from the one state to the other. The work was inspired by the New Zealand painter Colin McCahon's 'Northland Panels'.

Performance history

28 Nov 1998: Performed in a rehearsed reading by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marc Taddei as part of the NZSO-SOUNZ Readings