Gareth Farr: Bintang (2 Pianos & 8 Hands)
2 Piano & 8 Hands
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This Facsimile Edition is a spiral-bound full score book and 4 paperback parts.
About the work:
The foundation of this five and a half minute work is a recurring odd-metered theme derived from an altered version of the super locrian scale, also known as the “altered” or “Ravel” scale. The altered version of this scale consists of a flattened second, fourth and fifth scale degree of the super locrian scale, along with the added flattened seventh scale degree which appears in the work’s recurring theme. Farr has chosen this scale, also associated with French ‘Impressionism’, resulting in an intriguing work that reflects the exoticism of Indonesia, from which the word Bintang comes, while maintaining the distinctive dynamic style of the composer.
After standing out in the upper register in the opening, Bintang’s recurring theme, in its entirety, is embedded in the middle register throughout the remainder of the work, subtly embedding itself in the memory. Melodic fragments of the theme, superimposed dyadic and triadic chords and upper-register arabesque writing take turns at surfacing from, and submerging into, the work’s texture as its dark emotional quality takes on more dynamism and drama.
The recurring middleground theme, held by one player throughout the work, is punctuated with attack and sustained chordal gestures that alternate within the lower register of one piano, which triggers a response in the higher register of another. The resulting polyphonic texture, produced by combining these chordal gestures with florid writing in the upper register, moves in exciting waves of tension and release, propelling the work forward. The undulating quality of the arabesque writing expands, doubling in thirds with all eight hands being utilised. Both pianos carry this smooth wave-like ascending and descending progression between the lower and upper registers.
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