Program notes

Music for percussion ensemble

wacke

rebana loops
rebana loops had its inception in various aspects of Indonesian music, particularly in the technical aspects of the Javanese rebana players. The rebana is a small, exceedingly simple, hand drum found in a number of Javanese folk percussion traditions. It is not a solo instrument, but when combined in groups (usually of three or four, but occasionally many more), it revels in creating music of great excitement and interest through the use of short interlocking patterns, rapidly changing & contrasted dynamics and tonal contrasts in the playing techniques used. . Each player plays quite simple patterns which interlock, often canonically at the interval of an 8th or 16th note and at great speed. The result is a high energy music which I find exhilarating to listen to and very challenging to play! The application of these techniques to contemporary instruments of quite a different kind was the source of inspiration for much of rebana loops.

Commissioned in 2003 by Western Australia’s Tetrafide Percussion, the work is dedicated to that ensemble in whom I find the same spirit and energy, sheer enjoyment of music and sense of fun that I have so often found amongst my Indonesian musical colleagues.

Duck!
Duck! was written for Nova Ensemble in 1994.

Bill meets a hypertense moose
Bill meets a hypertense moose was commissioned by EVOS Music with the assistance of funding from the West Australian Department of the Arts.

oopacaka
oopacaka was written for Nova Ensemble's Indian Ocean Unit project. The piece was written to particularly feature a percussionist with skills in any of the various Indian hand drumming techniques. The vocal percussion largely makes use of the syllables from the South Indian Carnatic system, and player 1 will ideally use the percussion instruments of that tradition: mrdangam, ghatam or kanjira. However, tabla may equally successfully be substituted and enterprising percussionists from other drumming traditions may use whichever instruments they feel will successfully realise the music.

oopacaka ougadougou

Variations for percussion
Variations for percussion was written for the May Music Camp percussion ensemble in 1978. It is a work suitable for a moderately competent high school ensemble.

Music for symphony orchestra

Symphony no. 1
Symphony no. 1 was written in 1993 as Symphony for Mandolin Orchestra and given its first performance by the West Australian Mandolin Orchestra, under the direction of the composer, in that same year. It was rescored for symphony orchestra in 1996/7 and premiered by the City of Fremantle Symphony Orchestra on 7th September, 1997.

A three movement work lasting around 25 minutes, its structure follows a number of classical symphonic precepts. The first movement begins with a slow introduction followed by an allegro in sonata form. This movement is in 5/4 throughout and makes use of strongly rhythmic phrases and biting dissonances.

The second movement is in the form of a chaconne with a scherzo embedded at its centre, the scherzo gradually evolving back into the chaconne.

The final movement makes use of the composer's interest in classical Indian music, both melodically and rhythmically. Most of the melodic material is drawn from an adapted scale (Raga Todi), the notes of which are E, F, G#, A#, B, C, D, E, whilst the rhythmic material draws upon rhythms in seven.

Tangling
Landscapes evolve over vast geological eras - rocks think incredibly slow thoughts. Tangling depicts a slowly unfolding conversation between the twisting strata of rock in a limestone cave, set against a tuned percussion background inspired by the relentless dripping of water carving out the cavern.

Music for string orchestra

Delphinic Miniatures

Music for salon orchestra

Byron weeds the garden
A light piece of ragtime depicting the composer's father-in-law tending his garden, weeding fork in one hand, glass of wine in the other.

Music for mandolin orchestra

From 1988 to 1996, David was Musical Director of the West Australian Mandolin Orchestra. His programming for the orchestra reflected a policy of the encouragement of Australian composers and arrangers combined with a practical acknowledgement of the importance of audience and orchestra enjoyment of their music-making.

David's compositions for mandolin orchestra include Symphony for mandolins, Lacrimae for soprano saxophone and mandolin orchestra, a number of lighter works and many arrangements of music ranging from the fifteenth century to the modern day.

Byron weeds the garden
A light piece of ragtime depicting the composer's father-in-law tending his garden, weeding fork in one hand, glass of wine in the other.

Lacrimae
Inspired by Kenneth Slessor's poem "Five Bells", Lacrimae allows the saxophone player room for improvisation over a fixed mandolin orchestra accompaniment.

Penguinade
Penguinade, originally written for recorder ensemble, was transcribed for the West Australian Mandolin Orchestra in 1995.

Rapunzel
Originally a scene change filler for a dance production, Rapunzel has a Chaplinesque quality.

Symphony for mandolins
The Symphony for Mandolins was written in 1993 and given its first performance by the West Australian Mandolin Orchestra, under the direction of the composer, in that same year.

A large scale work lasting around 25 minutes, its structure follows a number of classical symphonic precepts with the first movement beginning with a slow introduction followed by an allegro in sonata form. This movement is in 5/4 throughout and makes use of the full dynamic range of the mandolin orchestra.

The second movement is in the form of a chaconne with a scherzo embedded at its centre, the scherzo gradually evolving back into the chaconne.

The final movement makes use of the composer's interest in classical Indian music, both melodically and rhythmically. Most of the musical material is drawn from a scale adapted from the Indian Raga Todi, the notes of which are E, F, G#, A#, B, C, D, E. Much of the rhythmic material draws upon rhythms in seven, and the members of the orchestra substitute for a percussion section by vocalising on traditional South Indian percussion syllables.

Music for dance

Duet for six
to write music bringing out the speed, power, precision and sheer beauty of two of my favourite dancers, and the same qualities in six of my favourite musicians.

to build a structure that would retain the impact of a short,sharp knockout punch with sufficient length to work the musical ideas out

to find a use for the oil drums lying around the studio

Face First
Face First was commissioned by Buzz Dance Theatre for their secondary school program in 1998. The score was played live by the composer and Western Australian clarinettist and composer, Lindsey Vickery. It makes extensive use of the resources of MIDI and digital effects units - particularly through the use of delay and pitch shifting. The score has been subsequently reworked for acoustic chamber ensemble as Morphic Variations.

For six years ...
A text piece written for the introduction of choreographer Chrissie Parrott's Tales of obsession and ordinary madness, dealing particularly with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder).

Gilgamesh Fragments
Written as part of the workshop process towards The Gilgamesh Project, the music explores some of the textures and rhythms under consideration by the TGP creative team. The dance work was performed by the 2nd Year Students of the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts, the score being pre-recorded.

Inventions
Inventions was choreographed by the entire 2-Dance Plus company for performance to primary school students, with each dancer having responsibility for individual sections, as well as collaborating on other sections. The music for each section was created in consultation with the individual choreographers after a series of music workshops exploring rhythm and sound.

Metamorphose
Written in collaboration with composer/multi-instrumentalist Mark Cain, Metamorphose took its inspiration from an M.C Escher print - the multiple, gradually dissolving images finding their expression through the use of a digital delay unit.

Music for Claudia
A short piano work written for Claudia Alessi's ballet class examinations at the Graduate College of Dance in Perth, Western Australia.

Music for Meredith
Written shortly after the composer acquired both his first sequencer and a 4-track cassette recorder, it is probably fortunate that the score and tapes have been lost!

Music for Terra
Incidental music written for Chrissie Parrott's full-length dance-theatre work Terra - a piece inspired by Jeanette Winterson's novel Sexing the Cherry. Sections of the score were later reworked as Fortunata's Dance for the electro-acoustic quartet incarnation of Nova Ensemble.

Musing

Ritual Fragments

Rumpelstiltskin

Tangling

Terminal Velocity

The Living Room

Zig Wag

Music for film

Induatrial Angels

Wrath

Music for theatre

Dolphin Talk

Starlight Starbright

Opera

Symphony no. 1

Music for angklung ensemble

An unclog dance
An unclog dance was written for performance by the wedding party at the composer's wedding in 1996.

Just an inkwell for my uncle
Just an inkwell for my uncle was written for Nova Ensemble's Orchestra of the Global Nomads project. The notes required are as many of the sharps and flats as are needed for each player to have two notes.

Off Beatty Park
Off Beatty Park was written for Nova Ensemble's Indian Ocean Unit project. The notes required are B,C,D,F,A,B in the middle octave. It should be noted that Beatty Park is a swimming complex in Perth.

Music for recorder ensemble

Penguinade
The music for Penguinade was written for the Western Australian ensemble, Mostly Baroque.

Music for vocal ensemble

Woma* Nabimba

Miscellaneous Instrumental Works

Five Bells
Fortunata's Dance

Fragile
Fragile was written for Nova Ensemble's Orchestra of the Global Nomads project.

Mr Mouse
Mr Mouse was written for Nova Ensemble's Indian Ocean Unit project.

P.S
P.S was written for Nova Ensemble's Indian Ocean Unit project.

Rats squeak by torchlight
Rats squeak by torchlight was written for Nova Ensemble's Indian Ocean Unit project.

Song of the Crane
Song of the Crane was commissioned by Nova Ensemble with the assistance of funding from the West Australian Department of the Arts.

Sootyfoots
Sootyfoots was written for Nova Ensemble's Orchestra of the Global Nomads project.

Unison Lines

Wood, wind, earth, water

Music for film

Industrial Angels

Wrath
Wrath was commissioned by the Australian Broadacasting Corporation for use with a dance work choregraphed by Chrissie Parrott as part of a series of short contemporary pieces based upon the Seven Deadly Sins.

The work was written to be realised with the resources of the ABC recording studios, and uses sounds recorded on the Fremantle Prison Death Row where the dance was filmed.

Music for contemporary instruments

Ban the Bombard Blues
Inspired by a colleague's early attempts to master the bombard - a renaissance double-reed instrument - a fore-runner of our modern oboe.

Boxes
The first work created by Nova Ensemble for performance in primary schools in the Musica Viva in Schools program. The piece was performed in over 100 schools in western Australia between 1991 and 1994.

Junkelan

The Lament of Gilgamesh
The Lament of Gilgamesh was commissioned by the Festival of Perth for performance by Nova Ensemble at the 1998 Festival of Perth. All the instruments are tuned to the equi-pentatonic salendro scale of West Java.

They didn't dance like this in 1916
A short work for thongaphones in the 19/16 time signature based upon the riff used in the final section of Duet for Six.

Trash
Trash was written for performance by Nova Ensemble in primary schools for the Musica Viva in Schools program. The work received well over 200 performances at schools in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Singapore.

In addition, a street theatre version was adapted for the 1996 Festival of Perth.

Trash used large brightly-coloured garbage bins as storage receptacles for a wide range of instruments designed and built by the ensemble. The bins were also used as stage props and even instruments in their own right.



Last modified: March 10, 2001
nova@iinet.net.au