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Chamber Concerto

posted on 2023-06-07, 20:14 authored by Ed HughesEd Hughes
This four movement musical composition for an ensemble of seven instrumentalists contributes to the fields of musical composition and performance, because it experimentally seeks a pathway for traditional western musical practices through a modern style characterised by fractured and layered polyphony. On the one hand the work engages with ensemble discourse and contrapuntal practices by devising virtuosic instrumental lines and combining them; at the same time the very virtuosity of these lines threatens to fracture the cohesion implied by the traditional definition of 'concerto' and the lines frequently explode or fly apart, creating ruptures in the music's fabric (notably the silences in the second movement). The work has some resonances with early twentieth century composition in its formal concerns. For example, with Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony (1906), in its dynamic use of thematic material; with Berg's Chamber Concerto (1935) in its use of palindromic procedures; and with Adams's Chamber Symphony (1992) in its use of repetitive figures. However, it distinguishes itself from these twentieth century works in its cubist approach to line and harmony - and it also reaches for a subtle intertextual palette of musical references to 19th century and later piano idioms, particularly in the third movement, which 'float' across the surrounding textures, further adding to the diaphanous and layered attributes of this music. This experimental approach thus seeks to address the continuing evolution of the chamber ensemble in a post-twentieth century context. The Chamber Concerto was premiered by a virtuoso ensemble of musicians called The New Music Players which I founded 20 years ago, and which continues to perform, broadcast and contribute to musical culture. The Chamber Concerto's first performance was at the internationally recognised venue Kings Place on 27 September 2010. See also: Susan Nickalls, 'Ed Hughes Chamber Concerto' in Classical Music (Rhinegold Publications) Issue 924, 11 September 2010, p. 19


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  • Published


University of York Music Press

Department affiliated with

  • Music Publications


ISMN M-57036-235-6

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