A Solitary Path

for solo violin and strings

August,  2014

ISMN: 979-0-720090-41-2​

1:  Adagio rubato

2:  Allegro

3:  Adagio

Originally conceived as a simple allegro for strings, (commissioned by Sydney Youth Orchestra, 2007) this work, was re-developed (in part) as an exercise in concerto form. It now stands, however, complete as it is.

I am indebted, and grateful to my long-time friend and musical fellow traveller Chris Connolly who, while I was staying at his home in La Cassaigne, suggested I enter something into the Penderecki Composition Competion.  ....Perfect, a reason for finishing something, and a welcome change from the strictures of writing for small, intimate Duos and Trios. 

Reflections, during the creative process...

Having just finished a tour of Northern Europe performing my Reflections on Life, Death and Transience (Vln and Vla) as well as Slavic Grooves and Meditations (flute, violin and viola) and resting and reflecting on the meaning of it all in Buyuk Cekil, Kas, Turkey, I began the rewrite of A Solitary Path.

17th July, 2014

"Flying out of Innsbruck, over the Alps and heading towards Amsterdam….. while waiting at the airport with Carla, found out Sculthorpe died, … sad, a big, yet nice man….life, death, goes on. Spent four days in Gmund, still stuck with the violin solo, till a shape/direction…. purpose formed, then, though not complete, played it to Carla again…. and she thought so too. (She insists though, on making me play it “for real, not like a sick mosquito….” What can I say, what can I do….?"

"Travelling on the train from Gmund to Innsbruch started editing, and chopping out the excess (it has to be under nine minutes duration)... in transit.

10th August, 2014

"Spent the night in Amsterdam, almost slept even… get to the airport early, only to find the flight has been delayed by 5 hours, which means the next leg from Singapore is then delayed by another 24 hours…. Sneak into the “vip” lounge and set up the computer and work at it again….."

12th Aug.

 

"Fuck me, panic and pressure, but it is almost done, sending off another copy (without this foreword!) to Poland as soon as I get out of the house……

15th Aug, 2014

Sydney (Ross’ place)

 

PS: Needless to say, this work was not selected in the competition, but when I saw the masturbatory scheidt that the competition is into, I can only wear the 'rejection' as a badge of honour.

Version for SYO: composed - July, 2007

Developed: 9/7/14- 15/9/ 2014

In Times of Change

for strings, piano and percussion x 2

Composed: 1st Aug – 13th Oct, 2007

Revision: September, 2018

ISMN: 979-0-720090-07-8

1:  Intro

2:  Andante

3:  Allegro

4:  Post Script - poco andante

Composed over 10 years ago as a commission for the Sydney Youth Orchestra, the ideas were good, and I developed it further in 2011.

It is strange, I realised whilst editing and revising this work from the distant perspective of Florence, that, over  the many years of touring and performing with, and programming for the Elektra String Quartet, that some of the most popular works of mine (for both the performers and audiences) were the ones that I initially wrote for "kids". Was this a psychological opening, or 'get out' card from the internalised pressure to write "serious', or 'adult' music.....  a detour around sterile head-banging, which gave me permission to simply write for/from the heart! Go figure!?

Forword to the original version for kids

In the rapidly developing and evolving technological/digital/consumer cultural life worlds that we all, (but particularly the younger generations) find ourselves in, some requirements for music making, as far as I am concerned, don’t really change, (but then again, maybe I am simply becoming old, bitter and reactionary; hide bound with the outdated cultural baggage of ages past, etc….!!?) Anyway, as I was saying, (and have said elsewhere) … “rhythms, bowing patterns, physicality, counting and mathematics, communicative skills etc, all ultimately merge, one happy day, as ‘consciousness’ in, and as, the ‘well tempered string player’”.

To teach young kids to do so, however, (particularly the counting bit, let alone looking at the conductor) is another matter altogether! What greater challenge to humanity, and service to despairing string teachers, (and youth orchestra conductors) than to devise means by which to ‘encourage’ them to do so. With that in mind, here then is an offering which, in its recourse to basic principles, (and in a language that is in accord with the principles of an almost contemporary cultural hip-ness!) can serve, in some small measure, to learning to participate consciously in that great mystery of collective social meaning and action; -that is, music making, during a period of rapid cultural change; -or simply put, “In Times of Change”.

The interactive/creative process: After some initial discussions and meetings, I sketched out a piece based on some simple rhythmic ideas as well as finger exercises and then invited Nick (Tester) to my place to see what I had come up with. (22nd Aug, 07) It seemed to be within the range (albeit the outer limits) of the SYO beginner string group (the Speer Orchestra) he was directing at the time. Some sections we suspected may have been beyond them, but, the option of cutting them out was a very simple solution to keeping the work manageable.

 

I had thought hard and fast about the rhythmic pattern on which the allegro was based, and could have made it more ‘uniform’ –that is, a simpler repetitive pattern; but that meant they simply would have memorised it. So we decided to keep it a little more complex, necessitating the kids having to learn to really read and follow the music, rather than playing it prematurely (to whatever degree) ‘by ear’; -after all, the rehearsal/tutorial/learning process, over a whole term, was organised around the idea of extending their skills, as much as it was about creating something new and fun for them, and giving them a sense of what it means to work with a still (in some ways!) living composer.

 

Sat. 18th, August 07: “Check out the junior group (Speer). Have a ‘session’ –ask questions: “how does a group stay together/in time, etc… “Follow the conductor!!?” one of them cries… I make observations on their playing. I then ask, “What do I, as a composer, need from an orchestra?” We play around with col leg clicks, then slow glissandi; all useful and fun”

And in the end… I thank and acknowledge the people at the Sydney Youth Orchestras, and the Australasian Performing Rights Association for making my residency possible, which gave me the opportunity to give and share something of my experience and creative spirit with the young ones.

Romano Crivici

Marrickville, Sydney

31st January, 2010

Composed: 1st Aug – 13th Oct, 2007

Revision: September, 2018

On the Edge

 

Composed: -21st Oct. -7th Nov, 2010

 

Revised (+ percussion) -5th -9th Jan, 2011

Duration: ~7:45”

(To the young ones, and learning how to groove together, and in doing so, coming to understand and experience something of the “I” that is “We”. (Thanks be to Richard Moss))

​​

 

Same process, different school and age bracket, and similar problems; a group of high-school students of varied abilities, (beginners through to experienced) and the difficulty of finding repertoire that can include them all, as well as ‘speaks’ to them in a language they can all understand. So, a quick late-night sketch of some simple rhythmical ideas, and developed a few days later: -in that sense I make no great claims to this work as being something “strikingly original” or, whatever.

 

In the meantime, I will be happy if they simply ‘get into it’ and learn /experience something of the joy and satisfaction in performing and grooving together.1

 

This process of working with young people, however, is still interesting to me in that I set out to write something ‘simple’ and in keeping with the various abilities of the kids in the group, and yet what ultimately comes out is still artistically and creatively satisfying to me.2

 

As opposed to many other pieces I have composed for kids, the piano part for On the Edge is integral, providing as it does the groove and rhythmic drive. The piano part at Figure 19 could be dispensed with in performance, (particularly if you have enough players) and used for rehearsal only, but it does work well as a ‘colour’ and/or ‘continuo’.