Suite for Claude Debussy In Memoriam for 12 instruments

Hammond, D. A. (2018) Suite for Claude Debussy In Memoriam for 12 instruments. [Compositions]

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This work was commissioned for Claude Debussy in 2018: a Centenary Celebration, a conference in March 2018 held between the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Glasgow. The conference featured a series of performances and workshops of works written for the instrumentation of the remaining unwritten sonatas from Debussy's 'Six sonatas pour divers instruments'. A concert featuring the Royal Scottish National Orchestra premiering six new works by musicians from across Europe and America, played alongside Debussy's three finished sonatas from the aforementioned folio, was held at the UoG Memorial Chapel on 22 March 2018. This piece was premiered both as a culmination of all the players and as a finale to the concert. This is the programme note about the piece from the concert: Suite, for Claude Debussy, in memoriam for 12-member ensemble (2018) Drew Hammond I. Méditation (5:50 min.) II. Interlude (1:35 min.) III. Rêve de Couleurs (2:00 min.) IV. Fin du Jeu (attaca) (3:30 min.) Recently I delivered a lecture series to the music students at the University of Glasgow on form and colour in Debussy’s Sonata for flute, viola and harp. Above all, I wanted to communicate that the sounds encountered in the work may be only sounds, in and of themselves, despite all the abstract ways that we might refer to them. I wanted my student composers to let go of their theoretical impulses–triadic chords, inversions, extended harmony, modes, collections of pitches, etc. –and to simply paint with the sounds they found around them. I think this ultimately encapsulates Debussy’s legacy for me personally: Stop worrying about what a sound is meant to do according to what you’ve been told in the past. I find in Debussy’s apparent joy in playing with sounds a sense that I have permission to do the same. I was thinking of resonance when I wrote this. I hope this is evident in the surface texture of the piece itself. After listening to, pondering, and playing the movements of Debussy’s trio sonata, over and over, my mind’s ear began to take on some of its characteristic sounds. In fact, the resonating sounds heard in the Suite are lifted unceremoniously from Debussy’s work, and in the process of writing, I began to learn them and improvise with them. They are transposed, inverted, distorted and re-voiced. The decision to place my work last in this programme, immediately after the Sonata for flute, viola and harp, is borne of a desire to look at the situation honestly: Debussy made his sound in 1915, and I follow, mulling over what he has done, over a century later.

Item Type:Compositions
Additional Information:Conductor: Jon Hargreaves
Keywords:Debussy, RSNO, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Jon Hargreaves, composition, chamber.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hammond, Drew
Authors: Hammond, D. A.
Subjects:M Music and Books on Music > M Music
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Drew Hammond

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