Under the Anthropocene (2020)
Mezzo-soprano: Kate Bright
Recorder: Ryan Williams
Text: Earth Interview in the Anthropocene - Anne Elvey (2014)
Text: Enuma Elish - Babylonian (ancient)
This composition was written in response to the ongoing climate emergency. The work is based around a poem by Anne Elvey, Earth Interview in the Anthropocene, which presents the thoughts and perspectives of the Earth in relation to the activities of its human inhabitants. Across the four movements of this composition, the poem is divided and contextualised with additional text: numerical text derived from climate data compiled by the Bureau of Meteorology; and a short fragment from the Enuma Elish, a Babylonian creation myth which is mentioned in Anne's poem. The presentation of climate data in this composition is at times abstract (presented as pitch material through the recorder part, or sung through the recorder), and at times direct (spoken or sung); its consistency is a reflection of our awareness of this global issue at this current point of the 21st century. The fragment taken from the Enuma Elish is a snippet of conversation between Tiamat and Apsū, the first two gods in this creation myth, in which they discuss the unending clamour caused by the other gods, their children. This small fragment of the Enuma Elish resonates with the tone of Earth Interview in the Anthropocene.
Below are two excerpts (w/ score) from the composition. You can listen to the full composition here:
Earth Interview in the Anthropocene is used with permission from the author. Earth Interview in the Anthropocene was previously published in Rabbit 12: Late (Autumn 2014).
All numerical text/data used in this work is from the Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Government) and collated from 'Australian climate variability and change - Time series graphs' available at: www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/in…racker=timeseries under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (Au).
Full terms at: creativecommons.org/licenses/...
The text of the Enuma Elish is based on the transliteration by W. G. Lambert from Babylonian Creation Myths, published 2013 (Eisenbrauns). Permission to use this material is given by Pennsylvania State University Press. Translation of the Enuma Elish by Leonard William King is from The Seven Tablets of Creation (public domain).
Jovian Glimpses (2019)
Flute: Lamorna Nightingale
Clarinet: Jason Noble
Percussion: Claire Edwardes
Viola: Henry Justo
Cello: Blair Harris
I managed to catch a glimpse of Jupiter through a telescope on a freezing evening in 2019. Working against the rotation of the Earth, which quickly spun Jupiter out of view within seconds of lining it up in the telescope, I managed a few moments where I could stare at this giant planet with its four Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede) splayed out, almost too perfectly, with two moons on either side of this textured hanging orb. The image, and experience, stuck with me.
Jovian Glimpses oscillates between moments of stasis and moments of trajectory, working with the idea that this giant celestial body with its orbiting moons, whilst static in appearance when viewed from our own sky, is a turbulent place with rapid orbits and monumental forces at play.
Concrete, Glass, Shadow (2019)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Conductor - Matthew Coorey
This work was commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2019 as part of the Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program. It was performed and recorded by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with Matthew Coorey (conductor) in January 2020 at Iwaki Auditorium (Southbank, VIC)
The writing of this work for chamber orchestra was influenced by the cityscape of Melbourne, a city I have always known and been fascinated by. Concrete, Glass, Shadow represents the city at different times of the day, mapping a lengthening of shadows against an immovable and towering environment built from concrete and glass. This excerpt is taken from the final section of the piece, where shadowy textures reign, but always with the glint of glass high above.
How Are The Stars Where I'm Not Looking? (2018)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Conductor - Benjamin Northey
Orchestral reading session recorded by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with Benjamin Northey (conductor) in October 2018 at Iwaki Auditorium (Southbank, VIC)
How Are The Stars Where I’m Not Looking? is an orchestral composition completed in 2018. The influence behind this composition was NASA’s Voyager mission, which launched two spacecraft in 1977 to explore the outer planets of our solar system, and beyond. After fly-bys of Jupiter and Saturn, the two sister-craft (Voyager 1 and Voyager 2) started on different trajectories, Voyager 2 continued on to explore Uranus and Neptune whilst Voyager 1 began its journey toward interstellar space. This composition focusses on the journey of these two sister-craft to Jupiter and Saturn and their gradual separation into the loneliness of space.
Excerpt One: This excerpt represents the two sister-craft as they pass Jupiter. The flute melody heard in the opening of the excerpt, which permeates this entire section of music, was derived from data measured by Voyager 2's onboard instruments as it flew-by Jupiter. Two mixed quartets arranged in the orchestra to represent Voyager 1 (piccolo, horn, harp, violin) and Voyager 2 (bassoon, trumpet, vibraphone, viola) interact with this 'Jupiter melody' before returning to the emptiness of space.
Excerpt Two: This concluding section of the orchestral work portrays the two sister-craft as they drift further away from one another into the outer reaches of the solar system, and beyond. Both the mixed quartets from the first excerpt feature temporally and registrally separated from one another against a sparse orchestration.
Echoes of Fame (2018)
Electronic Soundscape for an Exhibition
at the Grainger Museum (Parkville, VIC)
In 2018, Lewis was Composer-in-Residence at the Grainger Museum (Parkville, VIC). As part of this residency, Lewis was commissioned to compose a soundscape for an upcoming exhibition at the Grainger Museum, Objects of Fame: Nellie Melba and Percy Grainger. This exhibition showcased objects belonging to two of Melbourne's international music stars, Dame Nellie Melba and Percy Grainger, and provided an overview of their respective rises to international fame.
This soundscape features isolated samples of Melba's vocals, taken from recordings found in the National Film and Sound Archive, and combines them with resonant piano swells and disfigured piano melodies, representing the instrument Grainger is most associated with and his love of the ocean. The melodies attempt to realise a tune by Grainger that he supposedly loathed, Country Gardens, and place it within an aesthetic more appropriate to Grainger's experimentation with 'beatless' music. The soundscape itself is generative with each of the three wings of the museum containing a slight variation of the soundscape. You can use the player provided to listen to each soundscape independently or mix your own version of all three.
This player is only available on the desktop version of the website.
Click anywhere in one of the black rectangles to start one of the soundscapes. Hover over a black rectangle for audio and volume controls for that soundscape.
A Sharper Breath (2017)
Violin - Jason Neukom
Violin - Sandro Leal Santiesteban
Viola - Sean Neukom
Written for members of the Beo String Quartet as part of the 2017 Charlotte New Music Festival (NC, USA), "A Sharper Breath" is the first in a set of intended miniatures for varying configurations of string quartet. The piece is, in essence, a representation of inhaling and exhaling after hearing bad news.
A Storm, A City (2017) | Before The Storm
Cello - Nikki Edgar
Before The Storm is the first part of A Storm, A City. This scene depicts the muffled echoes of a distant storm resonating through Melbourne's city streets. The cello navigates the, at times, dense electronics part by progressing through a series of notated phrases and boxed notations that correspond to specific timings.
A Storm, A City (2017) | During The Storm
Cello - Nikki Edgar
During The Storm is the second part of A Storm, A City. This scene depicts the suffocating rain reflecting and pooling below Melbourne's city skyline. The electronics part has quite a clear sonic relationship to the sound of falling rain, whilst the cello gradually performs an additive phrase/melody before and after two improvised passages.
A Storm, A City (2017) | After The Storm
Cello - Nikki Edgar
After The Storm is the third and final part of A Storm, A City and features only solo cello. This scene depicts the regular frenetic pace of the city of Melbourne slowly resuming as the storm subsides. The cellist is required to perform with the bow behind the strings (playing the C and A strings) and with two bows simultaneously before returning to conventional bowing for the end of the piece.
With Hidden Meaning (II & III) (2016)
Cello - Zhu En Li
With Hidden Meaning is a solo cello work in three parts. As the composition progresses, the cello's musical material deviates from the lyrical melodies of the first part and showcases a more inward-looking exploration of timbres and textures (parts two and three).
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