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Ian Wilson: Arbres d'alignement

  • for orchestra
  • 2 2 2 2 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(2), hp, pno/, str
  • Duration: 10’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute (+picc)
    2nd flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in Bb
    2nd trumpet in Bb
    3rd trumpet in Bb
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    bass trombone
    percussion(2): bass drum, snare drum, tam-tam, xylophone, 5 tam-tam, 5 woodblocks, tambourine, guiro, whip, claves, cow-bell, maracas (4), cabas, tubular bells
    piano (
    violin I(16)
    violin II(12)
  • Composer: Ian Wilson
  • Commission: Commissioned by RTÉ for the 2004 Living Music Festival, Dublin

Work introduction

The rather unusual structure of this 11-minute piece was inspired by the idea of a Calder-type mobile, where different parts of the construction rotate at their own pace, coming in and out of view at different times from each other. Arbres d’alignement consists of five distinct strands of music, each with its own designated function (essentially melodic, rhythmic or harmonic, although all of course have other traits) and specifically associated ‘characteristic’ intervals, and these strands have a number of peaks and troughs of intensity occurring independently of each other. The peak or trough of one strand can affect what happens in the others, and there are points when a number of peaks or troughs occur simultaneously or else in proximity to each other, affecting the shape of the whole structure.

Arbres d’alignement is also the title of a photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson, showing a tree-lined French country road stretching off into apparent endlessness.

Ian Wilson


World première

Mahony Hall, Dublin (IE)
RTÉ Concert Orchestra
Jacques Mercier

Press reviews

“The carefully layered piece showed a conceptual strength and gestural clarity.”

(Irish Times, 24th February 2004. RTÉ CO cond. Jacques Mercier)

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