No 47 Three Studies on Elevation (2010)

For large choir, saxophone quartet & sinewaves

Commissioned by: Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and November Music, with financial support from the Netherlands Fund for the Performing Arts
First Performance: New London Chamber Choir and Rasscher Saxophone Quartet, November 10 2010, Verkadefabriek, Den Bosch
Instrumentation: large mixed chorus (SATB), Saxophone Quartet (SATB), Sinewaves
Duration: ca. 21’
Special Features: Performance requires sound engineer and extra stopwatch monitors for the musicians.

Score samples

Info/Program note:
Having spent a good deal of 2010 occupied with the investigation of parallel motion in sinewaves, the Three Studies on Elevation focus specifically on the area of ascending lines; more particularly: how can one insinuate infinite ascent and how can, in particular instances, descent even be observed within ascending motion - like the wheels of a car seemingly moving in opposite motion at certain speeds.

The work consists of three seven-minute movements, titled successively: curve (asymmetrically ascending and then descending in the saxes, while the choir intones all possible chords within a four-note gamut); helix (gradually rising over three octaves, originating and terminating at fixed points and forming harmonic chords towards the center; with, under the proper conditions a curious psycho-acoustic phenomenon towards the end); and line (ascending ‘infinitely’ in the sines, with the musicians continually ascending in terraced scales).

The Choir vocalizes throughout, there is no text; and with the exception of the saxophone parts in curve, there are also no prescribed microtones – all parts proceed chromatically.