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And saw the waves taking form as crystal

for mixed choir

Year:  2002   ·  Duration:  10m
Instrumentation:  for 36 voice SATB choir or 12 solo singers

Year:  2002
Duration:  10m
Instrumentation  for 36 voice SATB choir or ...

Composer:   Neville Hall

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Pages 25-32

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This is the fifth consecutive piece for which I have taken the title from Ezra Pound's Cantos. "And saw the waves taking form as crystal" struck me as being particularly musical, purely in metrical and phonetic terms. Initially, it was the phonetic content that was of particular interest to me, because I intended to break the line of poetry into its phonetic components and use these sounds as the basic material for the composition. As the listener will hear, this is, in fact, what I did. The complete line of text, with only a slight modification, can be heard towards the end of the work, but in "slow motion", spread over some 60 seconds. What precedes this "exposition" is its own detailed deconstruction into some 88 "variations", which simultaneously break down and develop its material. These 88 events are often layered and interact in a rather complex way, so are not heard as distinct or self-contained sound objects. Although I was originally more interested in the text for its sonic qualities, while working with it I became intrigued by the image of waves "taking form as crystal". It seemed like an apt metaphor for the compositional process itself, with the fluid and mobile potential of sonic material gradually crystallising into a specific gestalt, interacting and connecting with surrounding material. The water image also encouraged me to follow through with an idea that I had been thinking about for some time - the notion of rhythmic fields radiating outwards from specific points in time, like ripples on the surface of a pond. The composition contains hundreds of these "ripple" structures, which overlap and interact with one another. The resulting rhythms were used to determing subdivisions of glissandi, timbral profiles and other features within the web of "events" that make up the composition. "And saw the waves taking form as crystal" was commissioned by the Radio Slovenia Chamber Choir. It is dedicated to Uros Rojko, with thanks for his support and encouragement during my first ten years in Slovenia.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by Radio Slovenia Chamber Choir

Dedication note

Dedicated to Uros Rojko

Text note

From Ezra Pound's Cantos