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More than one attempt

for piano, horn and ensemble

Year:  2002   ·  Duration:  8m
Instrumentation:  bass clarinet, horn, bass trombone, piano, percussion, two drone instruments

Year:  2002
Duration:  8m
Instrumentation  bass clarinet, horn, bass t...

Composer:   James Gardner

Films, Audio & Samples

James Gardner: More than on...

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Sample Score

Sample: Pages 1-2, 22-24

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Most of the time, More than one attempt comprises three musical layers: (i) a pair of ‘drones’, audible only now and then, playing continuously in the background as a sort of ‘coloured silence’; (ii) a punctuating or supporting layer usually consisting of percussion, bass trombone and bass clarinet; and (iii) a soloist—the piano in the first movement, and the horn in the second.

The title of the first movement is the first and last line of the late Allen Curnow’s poem For Peter Porter at Seventy which I discovered after having started to sketch the work. It seemed appropriate for music which consists largely of regular pulses in the ensemble while the piano spends much of the movement in its own freewheeling, flexible time zone. The intricate pantoum structure of Curnow’s poem is not, however, emulated musically. In contrast to the fixed, equal tempered pitch world of the piano in the first movement, the horn soloist in the second is called upon to make extensive use of the 7th, 11th and 13th harmonics of the instrument—so called ‘out of tune’ harmonics—which set it apart from the rest of the ensemble.

More than one attempt was written for, and is dedicated to, the soloists in the first three performances; the pianist Lynda Cochrane and the horn player Helen Burr

Contents note

  1. Clock-watchers all, for whom the digits tick
  2. Unknown causes

Performance history

19 May 2002: Performed by 175 East, Lynda Cochrane (piano); Hopetoun Alpha, Auckland

24 May 2002: Performed by 175 East and conducted by Hamish McKeich at the Adam Concert Room at Victoria University, in Wellington.

26 May 2002: Performed by 175 East and conducted by Hamish McKeich at the University of Waikato, in Hamilton.

Performed by 175 East

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