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Glacial Ablations

    1 Oboe, 1 Piano

    Duration: ca. 10 minutes
    Composed: 2022

    Programme Note:

    1. Crystalline Elements
    2. Ice-Sizzle
    3. Runoff

    Chip Hamann invited me to create a new piece for oboe and piano for a recital and recording project featuring a number of Canadian composers.  The theme for the project was nature in Canada — things to do with our climate or landscapes.  As my subject-matter, I chose glaciers, specifically, how we are losing our glacial ice and permafrost due to climate-change.

    For my piece, I chose three terms from the field of glaciology and tried to create music that responds to them.  The title, Glacial Ablations, refers to the loss of ice and snow in a glacial system.  The first movement, Crystalline Elements, is slow, and features not only delicate structures in the piano, but also space and drama, in which translucence and opaqueness mingle with the human response.

    The second movement, Ice-Sizzle, is very fast, powerful, and urgent.  The term refers to the sound glaciers can make which is like carbonated water.  The final movement, Runoff, has to do with evaporation and deterioration of the glacier.  It begins with cadenza-like moments in the oboe and piano, and features upward moving lines.  The runoff intensifies as the forces of moving water grow in ferocity and urgency.

    Premiere: First performance by Chip Hamann and Fréderic Lacroix, Ottawa, June 4, 2022.

    Recording Included on “Canadian Scenes: New Works for Oboe and Piano” album featuring Charles Hamann, oboe and Frédéric Lacroix, piano. Released by Leaf Music, June 2023.

    Review ( “Another highlight of the album is its final work, Kelly-Marie Murphy’s Glacial Ablations for Oboe and Piano. Depicting the pristine beauty of northern Canada, this piece provides a welcome contrast to the earlier works on the album, which focus mainly on the landscapes of the southernmost and eastern provinces. Hamann does not shy away from experimentation in this piece, varying his use of vibrato, note lengths, and dynamic swells.”
    – Kristen Whittle – 6 OCTOBER 2023 – Read full review on

    Kelly-Marie Murphy, composer