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Insects in amber for string quartet

Sierra, Arlene Elizabeth ORCID: 2010. Insects in amber for string quartet. [Score]. Cecilian Music.

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Insects in Amber is part of a series of works exploring sounds and ideas from the natural world, especially Darwinian mechanisms of competition and organization. Other works in the series include the piano album Birds and Insects, Book I (2007), the ensemble piece Colmena (2008), and the chamber orchestral work Game of Attrition (2009). It employs transcribed insect calls and dramatic dialogues between instruments of the quartet. These were inspired by scientific studies of insect behavior and interactions, specifically the competition between subsets of overtly aggressive and more peaceful but strategic males of the same species. The work is in three titled movements: 1. Gryllus Integer Based on the calls of the named species (also known as the Western Stutter-Trilling Cricket), the first violin and viola are imagined as cricket 'singers' who try to entice the other two instruments of the quartet to respond to their calls. 2. Double Viols The atmosphere of both ancient life and ancient music is evoked by the non-vibrato sonority of viols. The sonority intensifies and evolves until cricket calls from the first movement arise from the texture. 3. Figwasps The competitive behavior and buzzing sonority of the figwasp is explored in this movement, where instruments of the quartet interact as combative pairs. Glass rods are used a percussive element on the strings in a fast, restless and virtuosic finale. Insects in Amber was commissioned for the Carducci Quartet with support from the Cheltenham International Festival. The World Premiere was given by the Carducci Quartet at Stanford Lively Arts, Stanford, California on April 3rd, 2011. The European Premiere was given at the Cheltenham International Festival in England on July 8th, 2011. Subsequent performances in 2011 and 2012 include Cardiff and Bromsgrove.

Item Type: Composition
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Publisher: Cecilian Music
Funders: Cheltenham International Music Festival
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Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 14:24

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