ORCHESTRA WITHOUT SOLOIST
2 Orchestrations available: 3•3•3•3 6•4•3•1 Timpani (5 drums), 2 Perc., Piano, 2 Harps, Strings OR 3•3•3•3 4•4•3•1 Timpani (5 drums), 2 Perc., Piano, 2 Harps, Strings [Percussion Requirements: Percussion I – crotales, snare drum, * 5 roto-toms, crash c
Duration: ca. 9 minutes
Programme Note: Through the Unknown, Unremembered Gate was commissioned by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada as the culmination of a three-term residency. It was written between October 2007 and April 2008, and is dedicated to the faculty and students of the NYOC.
The piece is in a single movement lasting just under 10 minutes, and shows the capabilities and colours of each of the sections in the orchestra. It opens evocatively and quietly with a harp solo that leads to a rich, layered, string melody. The strings cadence on an E-minor chord and the E is taken by voices – a choir made up of the orchestra musicians. The choir sings without words, instead just rhythms and pitches that create a texture. Following this are two, sparsely accompanied solos by bassoon and english horn. As the orchestra enters, the chords become more dissonant and the tempo increases. Repeated 16th notes in the horns initiate the fast music which is sustained throughout the rest of the piece.
The piece is about a journey. The title comes from a poem by T.S. Eliot called Four Quartets, where he says:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning.
With this piece I wanted to discover the orchestra, as if for the first time; to start from a place of enthusiasm for sound; and to share that joy and excitement with the musicians.
Premiere: First performance by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, London, Ontario, July 2008.
Recording(s): Recorded by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
Score Excerpt [PDF]