Dissertation looks at Composition from Varying Perspectives

November 4, 2009 (Edmonton) - Comprised of top level wind and percussion players within the University of Alberta's Department of Music and beyond, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble is

4 November 2009

Darlene Chepil Reid

November 4, 2009 (Edmonton) - Comprised of top level wind and percussion players within the University of Alberta's Department of Music and beyond, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble is scheduled to showcase a groundbreaking repertoire Thursday, November 26 at 8pm in Convocation Hall in the University's Old Arts Building.

"This performance is an extremely rare and unique opportunity to see some of the very best original composition and performances the Department of Music has to offer," said Dr. Angela Schroeder, conductor and Professor.

The upcoming performance will give stage to the world premiere of Rashomon by Darlene Chepil Reid, DMus Composition student at U of A. The composition is Reid's dissertation piece, while the performance itself will prove the culmination of over two years of writing.

"Darlene describes the piece as a work of extremes" said Schroeder "and the instrumentation of a Wind Ensemble allow for these extremes to be carried out in a variety of sonorous combinations and manipulations."

When addressing the process of composing Rashomon, Reid admits she wasn't entirely sure how the piece would evolve. "I started with a simple motivic cell then allowed myself to see where the music would take me," said Reid. "I don't work linearly - I had no clear understanding of the beginning, middle and end at the outset of the composition, rather I allowed the music to guide me on a journey, much like I hope it does the audience."

Schroeder also stresses the significance of performing the world premiere of a piece of music.

"It is a great honour for the students and I to learn, interpret and perform something the world has never heard before," explained Schroeder. "An opportunity like this is rare, and is a wonderful learning experience as well as a great responsibility to represent the composer's intentions for the very first time ever. We're all very excited."

Written in three movements, the piece offers a variety of sound experience; from passive to aggressive, quiet to loud, Rashomon carries listeners on a ride over three very distinct waves.

"The piece," Reid continued, "could almost be described as telling the same story or viewing the same object from three very different perspectives."

The structure of the piece was born of the fact Reid composed three endings even though the piece was originally intended to stand only as one movement. "I composed three endings I quite liked. I split the material I'd composed to that point into three different movements and consequently created this wave-like motif."

The title - which was chosen after the piece was composed - was inspired by the 1950 Japanese cine drama of the same name, which tails the recount of the story of the rape of a woman and the apparent murder of her husband through the viewpoint of four different witnesses.

Also on the program is the Canadian premiere of Steven Bryant's Ecstatic Waters, a piece for Wind Ensemble and live electronics.

"This piece is somewhat revolutionary in the Wind repertory," said Schroeder. "The combination of electronic soundscape with a Wind Ensemble is rare. Bryant uses techno beats and delayed sound 'entrails' as well as other electronics triggered live in the performance; he treats the electronic soundscape as any other instrument, lending sound and colour to heighten the sounds of the players onstage."

The work is inspired by the poetry of Y.B. Yeats. Bryant describes the piece as "music of dialectical tension - a juxtaposition of contradictory or opposing musical and extra-musical elements and an attempt to resolve them."

"The five connected movements hint at a narrative that touches upon naiveté, divination, fanaticism, post-human possibilities, anarchy, order, and the Jungian collective unconscious," Bryant explained. "Or, as I have described it more colloquially: W.B. Yeats meets Ray Kurzweil in the Matrix."

The program will also include Symphony in Bb by Paul Hindemith, a masterwork for the Wind Ensemble, as well as Bootlegger's Tarantella by Edmonton's own John Estacio.

Catch the performance live Thursday November 26 in Convocation Hall at 8pm. Please visit music.ualberta.ca for more information or follow us on Twitter for up to the moment information on events: twitter.com/convohall.