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Universal Edition - David Fennessy – This is how it feels (Another Bolero)

David Fennessy

David Fennessy
This is how it feels (Another Bolero)

Year of composition: 2007/2009
Scored for: for orchestra
Composer: David Fennessy
Instrumentation: 2 2 2 2 - 2 2 2 0 - timp, perc(2), vln.I, vln.II, vla, vc, cb(2)
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute (+picc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe (+c.a)
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in Bb
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
1st trumpet in Bb
2nd trumpet in Bb
1st trombone
2nd trombone
timpani
1st percussion (vibraphone, medium or large timpani)
2nd percussion (tubular bells, piccolo timpani)
violin I(8)
violin II(6)
viola(4)
violoncello(4)
1st contrabass(1)
2nd contrabass(1)
Commissioned by: Commissioned by RTE for the RTE Concert Orchestra and premiered by them at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, on 17 February as part of the Living Music Festival 2008 conducted by David Brophy
Duration: 18′
 
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Audio Excerpt

This is how it feels (Another Bolero) ...

World Première

Location: National Concert Hall Dublin / Republic of Ireland
Date: 17.02.2008
Orchestra: RTÉ Concert Orchestra
Conductor: David Brophy

Work Introduction

I had a strange image in mind as I started work on this piece. It was of a microscopic orchestra all seated in the swirl of a fingerprint. I was thinking about the point of contact between a bowed open string and a violinist’s finger and an entire orchestral sound was seeping out from beneath it.

I wanted to show how it felt to make a sound – something tactile and sensual.

Physical durations – the length of a full up bow or down bow, an inhalation or exhalation, tracing a finger across a drum skin - would determine the lengths of phrases. All the tiny details in the overall sound would come from the simplest of sources – stopping a note on a string.

For this reason the violins, violas and cellos have some strings detuned, allowing them to play only open strings and natural harmonics in the beginning.

In a way, the shape of the whole piece is actually the detailed plotting of a journey from the simplicity of a touched harmonic to the seductive, sophisticated tone of a ‘stopped’ note.

David Fennessy

Reviews

My own highlight of the evening, if not the festival, was the world premiere performance of RTÉ Commission This is how it feels (Another Bolero) by Irish composer David Fennessy (b. 1976). The composer's own remarks in respect to the piece include the realisation that 'the shape of the whole piece is actually the detailed plotting of a journey from the simplicity of a touched harmonic to the seductive, sophisticated tone of a "stopped" note'. Indeed, the work was engaging from the outset, as primitive urgings not unlike Stravinsky's, yet at the same time utterly fresh and distinctive, accumulated over a transfixing ostinato-like figure in timpani, entirely sure in its direction.

Úna-Frances Clarke (Musical Criticism)

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