Revolution (2014)

Duration: Approx 10 minutes
Date composed: Between July and September 2014
Premiered on 17 January 2015 by the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra. Revolution was commissioned by the APO as part of their Young Composers Award.


Revolution reflects upon the irrevocable changes brought about by climate change – from the effects on the atmosphere itself to the overall effects on our planet and our lives. Revolution both contributed significantly to the problems we now face and is key to us finding our way out.

The piece begins by looking at climate change from an atmospheric point of view, focusing on key gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and CFCs). These have been converted into musical molecules, which slowly make an appearance in the “atmosphere”. The concentrations of them then change throughout the first half of the piece to reflect their levels in the atmosphere from their pre-1750 tropospheric concentrations to the present day. The random nature of molecules’ movements are reflected by independent repetition (performers are given molecules to perform but are able to choose the tempo, placement and frequency, ensuring that the atmosphere is ever changing and unique at every hearing). As the concentrations approach their current levels, a rising motif signifies the increasing temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere.

A solo melodic bassoon emerging from the atmospheric mists marks a switch in focus from the skies to the manmade influences on climate change. The musical molecules are extended and developed to reflect the industries that produce them, leading to a mechanical, systematic climate change machine which grows and develops as the temperature increases and the situation becomes ever more critical.

In the final section, the focus switches to centre on the positive changes humankind are making to try and slow the progression of climate change. Pulsating notes reflect the sun’s rays and the turning of wind turbines, while greener technologies are contemplated as the piece draws to a close. The rising motif returns, but with a more positive air about it, highlighting the fact that while the efforts made won’t be able to stop the Earth from continuing to warm, they are at least slowing the process.

Revolution was commissioned by the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014 as part of their Young Composers Award. It was written between July and September 2014 and is in the region of ten minutes in length (approximate due to the nature of the first section of the piece).

 

 

Leave a Comment