Night music

Hughes, Ed (2015) Night music. [Composition]

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Abstract

Night Music is the second instalment in a cycle of works called collectively Shadows of Destruction. Broadly, this cycle responds to images drawn from collections in the Imperial War Museum, with a particular focus on the effects of the aerial campaign in World War II as recorded by RAF cameras. The cycle began with Dark Formations (2010), a composition for chamber ensemble and still images in collaboration with Professor David Chandler, meditating on the effects of the allied aerial campaign in World War II as recorded by RAF cameras. This second work explores moving images, again drawn from the Imperial War Museum archives. The historical context provided by the still imagery of the first piece now leads to a study involving archive film footage. The introduction of selected moving images is matched by an expansion of musical means in a composition for solo piano and live electronics. The music can be performed as a concert piece, or as an accompaniment to the silent moving images.
Night Music was commissioned by Music of Our Time for the Brighton Science Festival, with support from the RVW Trust, where it was performed on 12 February 2015 by Joseph Houston with an orchestral ensemble conducted by the composer. The London premiere was given by Richard Casey at The Warehouse, Theed St., on 25 September 2015.

Night Music is in three parts:
Part 1 – Flowing – The piece is largely governed by a 5/8 metre. The melody at times floats freely over the bar lines to create an impression of eliding and shifting surfaces.
Part 2 – Machine song – This movement explores musical gestures of descent and ascent; tension between the music’s mechanistic and lyrical qualities; disruption as conflicting scales are brought together and complex harmonies are cross-cut with occasional moments of transparency.
Part 3 – Night toccata – A rapid study which explores the full range and registers of the piano, at times exploring some harmonies obsessively while at certain moments breaking through to passages of pure textures, rhythms and clusters.

Item Type: Composition
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Music
Subjects: M Music. Literature on music. Musical instruction and study > M Music > M0005 Instrumental music > M1470 Aleatory music. Electronic music. Mixed media
Depositing User: Ed Hughes
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2016 09:21
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2016 09:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/63138

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