Escalation(1984)

1984

1) Bells 2) Strata

For: Fl, Ob, Cl, Bn, Hn, Tpt, Tbn, 2Vln, Vla, VCl.
Also requires a quadrophonic tape to be made by the ensemble.
Duration: 12 minutes

Escalation(1984) was inspired by the George Orwell novel 1984 that predicted a bleak future for this country. At the time of writing, with Mrs Thatcher in power, things felt pretty bleak and this is reflected in the music. The other inspiration for the piece was a piece performed by the Goldsmiths' C20 Ensemble which used pre-recorded tapes with a live ensemble. The co-ordination of taped and live materials had proved almost impossible to successfully achieve, and I felt that I could write a better piece using the same combination of pre-recorded and live sound.

The music uses the live ensemble to present the main melodic material with the four accompanying groups on the quadrophonic tape providing accompaniment. The initial solo lines expand to duos, trios and eventually to the full ensemble with the climax being reached with a huge 60 note chord before a brief coda brings the work to an end - not with a bang but a whimper.