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'Black Hands' Suite

for string trio

Year:  2021   ·  Duration:  11m
Instrumentation:  violin, viola, cello

Year:  2021
Duration:  11m
Instrumentation  violin, viola, cello

Karl Steven

Composer:   Karl Steven

Films, Audio & Samples

Karl Steven: 1. Octagon (fr...

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Karl Steven: 2. Quinque Via...

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Karl Steven: 3. Black Hands...

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Sample Score

Sample: pages 1–4 of score

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These pieces derive from the music I composed for the limited series "Black Hands" (Warner Bros. International Television 2020), which portrays Dunedin's Bain family in the years leading up to their tragic deaths in 1994. This is a difficult story on every level, and in scoring it I tried hard to create something respectful of the Bains and their deep love of music. My first task on the project was to arrange some hymns for male choir (of the sort in which both Robin Bain and David Bain sang). I was struck by the stark simplicity of these pieces and tried to score the series in a similarly unpretentious style, placing emotion to the fore. I wrote a handful of sketches for string trio and occasional vocal ensemble, and the players did a wonderful job of bringing these to life — finding that difficult balance between expression and restraint and negotiating technical hurdles gracefully. A huge thanks goes to them for their artistry and patience, in particular Joseph Harrop for his encouragement and engraving expertise, as well as to the amazing production team for giving me the latitude to find a musical language for this series.

Commissioned note

Derived from works for the limited series "Black Hands" (Warner Bros. International Television, 2020).

Contents note

Three movements:

  1. Octagon
  2. Quinque Viae
  3. Black Hands (Theme)