Luke Bedford: By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold

Luke Bedford By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold
By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold

Luke Bedford: By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold

Year of composition:
2008
Scored for:
for 18 players
Composer:
Luke Bedford
Instrumentation:
1 1 2 1 - 1 2 1 0 - perc(2), pno, vln(2), vla, vc(2), cb
Instrumentation details:
flute (+picc)
oboe
1st clarinet in Eb (+cl in Eb)
2nd clarinet in A (+cl in Eb)
bassoon (+cbsn)
horn in F
1st trumpet in C
2nd trumpet in C
trombone
piano
1st percussion
2nd percussion
1st violin
2nd violin
viola
1st violoncello
2nd violoncello
contrabass
Commission:
Auftragswerk von Ensemble Modern und Siemens Arts Program für das Projekt "into..." / Commissioned by Ensemble Modern and Siemens Arts Program for the project "into..."
Duration:
17’
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Audiosamples

By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold
00:00

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

I was very unsure about how I was going to approach this piece. Having been given the task of capturing the 'essence' of Johannesburg, it took me a long time to work out what my response to being in the city for a month would be.* The piece, I felt from quite early on, had to be lively and energetic and full of contrasts if I was going to reflect something of the pace of the city. I also knew that it would not have a happy ending - given what people had told me about their hopes for the future in Jo’burg.

When working on a composition, I often give myself a few little rules. They act as guides to keep me focused. So here, for example, I decided that the percussion would consist entirely of untuned instruments, and that they would be almost entirely metallic. These instruments, which are often scraped, seemed to be close to some of the actual sounds you can hear in Johannesburg every day. It reminds me of all the metal in the city: in the cars and taxis; in the wire and electric fences; and even of the gold under the ground.

The title refers to the afternoon I spent on the deserted Top Star Drive-In Cinema, which is built on a 50 metre mine dump, from where there are remarkable views over the centre of the city to the north, or Soweto to the west. The mixture of the stunning panorama across the city – showing all its wealth and poverty, viewed from a run-down car park where people lived in little houses behind the cinema screen, with traces of gold literally beneath their feet –   seemed to me to sum up so much about the city.

Luke Bedford

 

*Luke Bedford, along with 15 other composers from around the world, had been invited to take part in the music project into… organised by Ensemble Modern and the Siemens Arts Program (in collaboration with the Goethe Institute). Starting in February 2008, into… represented an attempt to convey the essence of a city in music. For this, four groups of four composers spent a month each in one of four megalopolises – Istanbul, Dubai, Johannesburg and Pearl River Delta – composing a work for Ensemble Modern based on their experiences.

Special prints

By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold

Luke Bedford: By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold

study score
for 18 players , 17’
Instr.: 1 1 2 1 - 1 2 1 0 - perc(2), pno, vln(2), vla, vc(2), cb

By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold

Luke Bedford: By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold

full score
for 18 players , 17’
Instr.: 1 1 2 1 - 1 2 1 0 - perc(2), pno, vln(2), vla, vc(2), cb

By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold

Luke Bedford: By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold

study score
for 18 players , 17’
Instr.: 1 1 2 1 - 1 2 1 0 - perc(2), pno, vln(2), vla, vc(2), cb

World première

Location:
Berlin
Date:
06.03.2009
Orchestra:
Ensemble Modern
Conductor:
Sian Edwards

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